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Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin (August 16, 1913 - March 9, 1992) became the 6th Prime Minister of Israel in May 1977. He negotiated the Camp David Accords with Egpytian president Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, for which they jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.

Menachem Begin was born in Poland and since 1939 he was the leader of the Zionist Betar[?] organisation. In 1940-1941 he was imprisoned in the USSR. In 1941 he volunteered to join the Polish army of Anders[?]. Released from that army along with many other Jewish soldiers, in 1942 he joined the Irgun (also known as Etzel) and in 1947 assumed its leadership. He was responsible for the bombing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel that killed more than 70 people, mainly British soldiers.

After the founding of the state of Israel, Begin founded the Herut[?] political party (which later on became the dominant party in the Likud coalition).

In 1979, Begin signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty with Anwar Al-Sadat. Under the terms of the treaty, Israel handed over the Sinai peninsula to Egypt. This involved the demolishing of all Israeli settlements in the area (including the town of Yamit[?]). Begin faced a strong internal opposition to this move, which led to a split in his own Likud party.

In 1982, Begin's government invaded Lebanon because of the constant attacks by the PLO over Israel's northern border. This began Operation Peace for Galilee[?], which lasted for six months (although Israeli presence in Lebanon continued until 2000).

Begin himself retired in August 1983, deeply disappointed and depressed by the war, his spouse's death and his own illness. He died in Jerusalem in 1992.

Quotes

"No more wars, no more bloodshed, and no more threats"
-Menachem Begin, Broadcast to the Egyptian People (http://www.israel.org/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0exc0), November 11, 1977.

"[The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs."
-Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts". New Statesman, June 25, 1982.

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