|“||We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.||„|
|~ Begin in a speech to the Knesset, June 1982.|
Begin was born in the city of Brest, within the Russian Empire, into a Jewish family. Being introduced from a very young age in the world of Zionism, he studied at the University of Warsaw, from which he graduated in 1935. At that time, he became a disciple of Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the nationalist Zionist Revisionist movement.
A prominent Zionist politician, Begin is sent by the NKVD to a gulag after the Soviet Union invaded Poland. After being released in 1941, he joins the Free Polish Anders' Army, and later travels to Palestine to fight for the independence of Israel and joins Irgun, where he had contacts.
In 1944, Begin, already as the leader of the Irgun, decided to start a military campaign against the United Kingdom, which at that time controlled Palestine (calling it the Mandatory Palestine), in contrast with the other important Jewish organizations that wanted a peaceful dialogue. In this way, Irgun, together with another organization called Lehi, and taking advantage of the international discontent over the repression that the British were doing, decided to launch a series of attacks, bombings and operations against British institutions, receiving financing through Jewish merchants and scams. As the Irgun's attacks grew more and more violent, Begin orders the King David Hotel bombing, resulting in the death of 91 people.
In 1947 a civil war broke out between the Arabs and Jews to see who would have their own state, where the Irgun would continue with its armed operations, and would commit the Deir Yassin Massacre against the Arab population of the town. During this period Begin had to live in hiding under false names, as MI5 offered a reward of £ 10,000 to anyone who captured him. After Israel's independence, Begin transformed Irgun into "Herut", a political party that several famous Jews, including Albert Einstein, would have branded "Nazi and fascist." Begin would have been banned from entering the UK in the 1950s for being a "terrorist".
During his early years in Israel's political life, Begin embraced ultra-nationalist ideals and ambitions to annex Jordan. In 1952 he led a demonstration to oppose the Reparation Agreement between Israel and West Germany that was being debated in the Knesset, where after making a sensational speech, Begin protesters motivated by the speech began to make violent riots in the area. The same year, a package bomb sent to the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer was detected, and 5 suspects were arrested, all former Irgun members. Forty years later, one of the defendants said that Begin had orchestrated the attack.
Later, Herut became Likud, and Begin was embracing a less extremist ideology, which would allow him to win the legislative elections of 1977, becoming the sixth prime minister of Israel. As prime minister, Begin abolished the ban on color television, and the minimum age for a driver's license was lowered to 17, but his greatest achievement would be to sign the Camp David Accords, which ended the border conflicts between Egypt and Israel, and was the This is why he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with his Egyptian counterpart Anwar Sadat.
However, his presidency was also marked by questionable acts, such as the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor where 11 people died, the creation of multiple Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, and his most controversial action, the military invasion of Lebanon, where his minister of defense Ariel Sharon was directly responsible for the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, which was declared to be an act of genocide by the United Nations. After considering the invasion a failure and suffering from depression over the death of his wife, Begin resigned. Yitzhak Shamir succeeded him as Prime Minister.
After this, Bengin retired from political life, and died in 1992 of a severe heart attack.