July 7th 2013
A highlight of any trip to Israel, the Menachem Begin Museum is the most accessible initiative of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation. A visit to the Begin Museum, located in Jerusalem, not far from the Old City, is a multi-media museum experience, similar to Jerusalem’s Herzl Museum and the Palmach Museum in the Ramat Aviv suburb of Tel Aviv – all of which present slices of Israel’s history extremely effectively.
Back in 1992, upon the death of Menachem Begin, Israel’s 6th Prime Minister, a group of his supporters and former colleagues assembled to establish the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation so that future generations would recognize and appreciate Begin’s legacy and his life’s work.
Menachem Begin was a lifelong, passionate Zionist. During his formative years in Poland, he was a leader in Beitar, a right-wing youth movement. After his arrest for political activity in Poland, Begin immigrated to pre-State Israel, where he led the Irgun, an underground movement fighting for the establishment of the State of Israel. He joined the first government of Israel and, after 29 years in the Opposition, became Prime Minister himself in 1977. Begin is best known for his work establishing a peace treaty with Egypt, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The story of Menachem Begin’s life unfolds as visitors walk through the museum wearing audio guide headphones, available in English and several other languages. The museum’s spaces are filled with original and restored objects from Begin’s life, historic video footage, dramatic retellings and audio recordings of Begin himself. Carefully chosen music and lighting effects add drama to the museum visiting experience.
Those old enough to have been familiar with Begin during his lifetime will understand remembered historical events in their larger context. Visitors who are less familiar with Menachem Begin will gain insight into the social evolution of the State of Israel from the 1930s until the early 1990s through the eyes of one of its most famous leaders, a man unwaveringly dedicated to the State of Israel and the people of Israel.
The Begin Museum is located on the grounds of a sprawling cultural center that mirrors the concept of a US Presidential library. A library, research center, auditorium, synagogue and a full calendar lectures, courses, musical and cultural events open to the public are also on the museum grounds. Menachem Begin’s original papers are held in the archives and are used by students, historians, researchers and filmmakers seeking information about Menachem Begin himself or the era in which he governed.