Menachem Begin

(1913–1992) A Jewish Israeli political and military figure. Of Russian and Polish origin, Begin immigrated to Palestine via enlistment in the Polish army in 1942. He was a primary political leader of the Revisionist Zionist movement and assumed command of the Irgun, an underground Jewish paramilitary group that operated in resistance to the British mandate government prior to Israel’s establishment. Begin and others founded the Herut party (the precursor to the Likud party after Israel’s establishment in 1948 and he officially entered politics as a member of the Israeli Knesset beginning with the first elections. In 1977, as head of the Likud party, Begin was elected Prime Minister of Israel and held the position until 1982. While in office, he negotiated a peace treaty with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at Camp David that led to Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for Egypt’s recognition of Israel, and was co-recipient of the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Sadat. During his tenure as prime minister, Begin authorized the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, and launched the 1982 War in Lebanon. He is known as well for advancing the Jewish Israeli settlement movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. See "The Nobel Peace Prize 1978: Menachem Begin," Nobelprize.org, September 2, 2011.

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