This is a notice published on February 9, 1956 in the newspaper Herut by the Netanya branch of the Herut movement congratulating Aliza and Menachem Begin on the bar mitzvah of their son, Binyamin Ze’ev. Binyamin is referred to as their “Betar son,” as he was a member of the Betar youth movement that was traditionally connected to Herut. The notice gives a peek into the family life of Menachem Begin and illustrates his warm connection, as leader of the party, with the members of the Herut movement.
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Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Bar mitzvah for boys or bat mitzvah for girls refers to the ages, 12 and 13 respectively, at which a Jew becomes obligated to fulfil the Jewish commandments and is allowed to participate fully in Jewish ritual and law. Since the Middle Ages, Jewish families have celebrated this milestone with a variety of different ceremonies and celebrations that have developed over time and place. In the past only boys celebrated their coming of age, but these days, in most communities, girls also celebrate. Bar and bat mitzvahs may consist of the celebrant being called up to the Torah for an aliyah, reading the weekly Torah portion or Haftarah, giving a sermon about the Torah reading, or leading the prayer service. Parties are probably the most common way of celebrating this milestone with family and friends. In recent years, participating in a social action project has also become quite common in some communities. In the past only boys celebrated their coming of age, though in recent years almost all communities celebrate also the girls' Bat Mitzvah.
Menachem Begin – Menachem Begin, born in Poland, was a member of Betar, a Zionist youth movement based upon the ideas of Vladimir Jabotinsky and Josef Trumpeldor. After serving in the Polish Army, Begin immigrated to Israel in 1942. He joined the Irgun (Irgun Zvai Leumi or Etzel, the National Military Organization in the Land of Israel), an underground Zionist paramilitary that split from the main Jewish military organisation, the Haganah. In 1944, Begin became the commander of the Irgun and was determined to force the British to leave Israel, using even violent measures. Begin was on the British wanted list and was thus compelled to live in hiding. Not only were the British searching for him but also opposing Jewish political organisations that claimed his actions were harming the Yishuv’s struggle for independence. Upon the establishment of the state, Begin signed an agreement with David Ben-Gurion agreeing to formally disband the Irgun. In August 1948, Begin founded the Herut political party, which was the forerunner to the Likud party. Over the years, Begin fought many ideological and political battles with David Ben-Gurion and his socialist Mapai party, one of the most bitter being about the reparation agreement between Israel and West Germany. In 1977, after many years of Mapai rule, there was a political upheaval and Begin became the sixth prime minister of the State of Israel. Menachem Begin served as prime minister for more than six years, until his resignation in 1983 due to ill health and depression after the death of his wife, Aliza. Major events during his term in office were the peace treaty with Egypt (1979), the subsequent withdrawal from Sinai (1982), the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear plant (1981), and the invasion of Lebanon (1982).
Betar – This Zionist youth movement was called Betar, the Hebrew acronym of its full name, the Hebrew Youth Alliance in Memory of Joseph Trumpeldor. The movement was founded by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky in Riga, Latvia in 1923 in order to prioritise the importance of immigrating to Israel, speaking Hebrew, establishing a defence organisation, and creating a Jewish state. In 1933 Betar began navy training in Israel but decided to move the training camps to Europe, away from the British Mandate authorities. The main marine academy was founded in Civitavecchia, Italy and was operated under the sponsorship of the Italian government. Most of the Betar branches in Europe were destroyed during the Holocaust, although some members escaped and fought with the partisans and others fought in the Warsaw, Vilna, and Bialystok ghetto uprisings. Menachem Begin, the sixth prime minister of Israel, was a leader in Betar in Poland before World War II.
Herut – The Herut (freedom) party, which was founded and led by Menahem Begin, had its roots in the Irgun, a pre-state underground military group, and in Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s revisionist Zionism. Herut took a hard line on territorial issues, believing in the biblical borders of the Land of Israel, which include land on both sides of the Jordan River. Herut was the opposition party during the early decades of the state that were dominated by the socialist Mapai party, which refused to include Herut in its coalition governments. Herut was opposed to socialism and encouraged private enterprise. In the 1950s, Herut opposed the reparation agreement between Israel and Germany in the wake of the Holocaust. In 1965 Herut joined the Liberal party to form Gahal, and in 1973 Gahal and several other parties joined together to form the Likud. Menachem Begin became prime minister in 1977, after the Likud party’s surprising victory.