Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Menachem Begin became the sixth prime minister of Israel in1977. He was 64 years old.
Begin made his first speech at the age of ten after being influenced by his father who was a devoted Zionist. He was also part of the Zionist Revisionists’ youth moment as a a teenager.
During World War 2, Begin went to Warsaw, and got a visa to go to Palestine, but he gave it to a friend. Begin’s wife went on to Palestine but Begin himself was arrested by the Russians and sent to a labor camp.
Begin was finally released in1941 after forming an agreement between the Soviet Union and the Polish government. He found out that his father had been killed by the Nazis, but his sister was still alive. Begin went to go see his sister, and joined the Free Polish Army, which took him to Palestine. There he became an interpreter for the British Army, since he had learned English listening to the radio.
Begin became a minister of the National Unity government. He started the Likud-National Liberal Movement while in that position. The Likud won a national electoral victory, and Begin started a government and became prime minister. He stayed prime minister for six years. In those six years, he negotiated deals between his country and other countries. He gave up some territories and in return got peace for Israel. He made a Middle East peace between Israel and Egypt and won a Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with Egypt’s president.
There was a time when Israel’s people were dying, and Begin’s defense minister had underlying motives. Then Begin’s wife died, and he stepped down from the position of Prime minister. The spot was turned over to Yitzhak Shamir.
Begin died in 1992 of a heart attack.