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Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Iron Lady' feared Begin

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher feared that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin would use nuclear weapons if he felt threatened, according to a report attributed to Wikileaks and to the British National Archives.
A diplomatic cable from the UK embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4, 1980, warned "the situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel's dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow. If they are to be destroyed they will go down fighting this time. They will be ready to use their atomic weapon. Because they cannot sustain a long war, they would have to use it early."

Documents released from the British National Archives also show then prime minister Margaret Thatcher's frustration with her Israeli counterpart at the time, Menachem Begin.

Thatcher said of Begin that she "had never had a more difficult man to deal with."

When she told Begin that his West Bank settlement building policy was "unrealistic" and "absurd" his reply had been "Judea and Samaria had been Jewish in biblical times and that they should therefore be so today."

Thatcher relayed the conversation with Begin to then French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
I wonder if any Israeli Prime Minister other than Begin has ever laid claim to Judea and Samaria based upon the bible. I cannot recall one who did that.

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At 1:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Menachem Begin in many respects was a religious Jew... unlike his predecessors and those who succeeded him.

Israel's secular elites have never forgiven him for coming into power - his win in 1977 was as much a surprise to him as it was to his opponents.

We shall not look upon his like again in Israel for a long time.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Avram said...

Begin was also the only PM, as far as I know, who was very traditional and was very attached to the faith. The man was different ... If only we had him today.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Menachem Begin, he abandoned Sinai, established the policy of expulsion of Jews, wavered at finishing the job against Arafat and the PLO in Lebanon and essentially laid the groundwork for what was to be the Madrid Conference, followed by the Oslo Accords.

And where are we today, thanks to Begin's failures? A sad, sad man. The potential was there and he didn't have the guts nor the foresight to save his people and country in the long term.

May he rest in peace while we endure the turmoil his hands planted.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not Shamir? Heck, not Dayan? Not Allon? Even the Mapai elites knew their tanach. What about backbenchers in Techyia in the day? What about back benchers in Likud today? What about Lieberman? What about his party? Not daati but biblicly based nationalist. I would ask folks to question the black white dichotomy of "'religious-nationalist" vs. secular-left wing-peace camp-whatever.

At 2:40 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Begin may not have been frum but was culturally very Jewish and knew from frumkeit. He was not trying to be a "new Jew", a normal Jew, or what the grandchildren of the Mappai elite have become -Hebrew speaking goyim. The ideology of Begin does not lead to hip-hop violinists, transsexual singers, gay marchers , or "I'm not Jewish ,I'm israeli yordim."


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