Menachem Begin

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Menachem Begin (August 16, 1913 - March 9, 1992) -- became the 6th Prime Minister of Israel in May 1977. Negotiated Camp David Accords with Egpytian President Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat. For this, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.

In 1947 Begin assumed leadership of Irgun (also called Etzel), widely considered a terrorist group. After the founding of the state of Israel, he founded the Herut political party (later on called the Likud).

In 1982, in a widely criticized move, Begin's government invaded Lebanon because of the constant attacks by the PLO over Israel's northern border. This began the Israeli conflict with the PLO in Lebanon; this lasted for six months, until Israel retreated to a narrow strip of land in southern Lebanon known as the Security Zone). Although Israel retreated from that land too in 2000, the Lebanese organization Hizballah, whom both the United States and Israel consider terrorist, declared itself still in a state of war against Israel, launches attacks on Israel and holds Israeli citizens as hostages, some of whom are civilians.

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.

Links: The Center for Begin's legacy (in Hebrew)