Israel's "Nobel Prize Laureate" Coin Series
The 2nd Coin in the "Nobel Prize" Series
The 6th Prime Minister of Israel and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Excerpt from Begin's speech at the Nobel Prize Ceremony:
I thank you for the great distinction. It does not, however, belong to me; it belongs to my people - the ancient people and renaissant nation that came back in love and devotion to the land of its ancestors after centuries of homelessness and persecution.
Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk in 1913, and received a Jewish-Zionist education. At an early age, he joined the "Hashomer Hatzair" and Betar Youth Movement, founded and headed by Zeev Jabotinsky.
In 1931, Begin began studying law at the University of Warsaw, graduating in 1935. In 1937, he was appointed the Betar representative in Czechoslovakia, and in 1939, was elected by Jabotinsky as Head of Betar Poland, an organization which trained youth for missions of defense and "illegal" immigration into the Land of Israel.
After the outbreak of World War II, Begin escaped from Warsaw and found refuge in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1940 he was imprisoned by Stalin's NKVD and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in a Siberian labor camp. Following Nazi Germany invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Begin was released and enlisted in General Andres' Polish army. Within that framework, he arrived in Israel in 1942 and shortly afterward, was appointed Commander of the Irgun Zva-i Leumi (Etzel), a post which he held until the organization disbanded in 1948. Between 1944-1947, under Begin's command, the Etzel revolted against the British Mandate authorities, operated the Akko prison breakout and release of the underground prisoners, and the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Begin founded the "Herut" movement, which merged with the Liberal Party in 1965 to form "Gahal" and together with other parties, in 1973, became the Likud. He served as leader of the party and head of the opposition factions in the Knesset. When the Likud won the 1977 elections, Begin was appointed Prime Minister. He hosted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in his historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, and in 1979, after lengthy negotiations, signed the peace agreement with Egypt in Washington. In December 1978, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with President Sadat. Following Ezer Weizman's retirement in 1980, Begin assumed the post of Minister of Defense, and in 1981 he ordered the Israeli Air Force to bomb and destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.
In 1982, Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon. The adverse situation in Lebanon and his wife Aliza's death in November 1982 led Begin to resign from the premiership in September 1983. He spent the rest of his life in seclusion, and was rarely seen in public.
Menachem Begin passed away in March 1992, and is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. He is survived by a son, Benjamin Zeev, and two daughters, Hasia and Leah.
A portrait with the inscription, “Menachem Begin Nobel Peace Prize 1978”, in Hebrew and English.
The denomination "1, 2 or 10" with "New Sheqel" or "New Sheqalim". The year of issue "5771/2010" and the word "Israel" in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The State Emblem at the top. An image of the famous triple handshake on the White House Lawn, between Begin, Sadat and Carter.