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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:51 AM


Critics Of Likud's New Vanguard Say Party Has Abandoned Founder's Ideals


Few Israelis today remember that until 1966, Arab citizens of the Jewish state were under army rule and needed permits from the local military governor to travel outside their home towns for work, study, or medical care. Even fewer know that a key figure in bringing an end to this less than democratic system was Menachem Begin, the fiery founder of the right-wing opposition Herut party, predecessor of today's Likud party headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Begin was an extreme nationalist and he was also a real democrat and liberal," recalls Uri Avnery, a peace activist who was a left-wing member of the Knesset during the 1960s. "He really believed in full equality for Arab citizens. The communists, Begin, and people like me all cooperated inside the Knesset and outside to have this system abolished."

Mr. Begin, former head of the pre-state Irgun underground that fought British rule, and prime minister from 1977 to 1983, is remembered at the state-funded heritage center in Jerusalem that bears his name as a scrupulous democrat in domestic affairs, upholding the rule of law, minority rights, and the right to criticize.

"I recommend that we not be content with just the independence of the law but that we raise the banner of the supremacy of the law," an exhibit quotes Begin as saying. Nearby is a black-and-white picture of Arabs at a session of the High Court of Justice. In its legacy section, the exhibit gives as much space to Begin's stress on "human freedom," including "freedom from the dictatorship of the majority," as it does to his well-known project of building settlements throughout the West Bank, which he referred to by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria.

But the liberal aspects of Begin's legacy are now, according to many observers, being discarded. In the run-up to Israel's Jan. 22 elections, in which Netanyahu is expected to easily win reelection, a new generation of Likud leaders unabashedly seeks to move the party and the country further to the right on the Palestinian issue and on domestic matters.



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Reply Critics Of Likud's New Vanguard Say Party Has Abandoned Founder's Ideals (Original post)
Purveyor Jan 2013 OP
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #1

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:13 PM

1. Hate to say this, but it kinda reeks of revisionism to me.


Begin was well-known for his views of Palestinians. "Beasts on two legs", he used to call them, or so the story goes.

Shame on you, Ben Lytfield.

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