Menachem Begin by Avi Shilon
A Life

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Menachem Begin, father of Israel's right wing and sixth prime minister of the nation, was known for his unflinchingly hawkish ideology. And yet, in 1979 he signed a groundbreaking peace treaty with Egypt for which he and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Such a contradiction was typical in Begin's life: no other Israeli played as many different, sometimes conflicting, roles as Begin, and no other figure inspired such sharply opposing responses. Begin was belittled and beloved, revered and despised, and his career was punctuated by exhilarating highs on the one hand, despair and ostracism on the other. This riveting biography is the first to provide a satisfactory answer to the question, Who was Begin? Based on wide-ranging research among archival documents and on testimonials and interviews with Begin's closest advisers, the book presents a detailed new portrait of the founding leader. Among the many topics the book holds up to new light are Begin's antagonistic relationship with David Ben-Gurion, his controversial role in the 1982 Lebanon War, his unique leadership style, the changes in his ideology over the years, and the mystery behind the total silence he maintained at the end of his career. Through Begin's remarkable life, the book also recounts the history of the right-wing segment of Israeli society, a story essential to understanding the Israel of today.

About Avi Shilon

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Avi Shilon is an independent journalist and a Ph.D. student at Bar Ilan University. He is the op-ed page editor for Israel Hayom, Israel's most widely read and circulated newspaper. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Published November 27, 2012 by Yale University Press. 584 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences.

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Shilon provides a fascinating account of Begin's government service between 1977 and 1983, including what became known as the “Begin doctrine,” under which Israel committed to not allowing “our enemies to develop weapons of mass destruction,” as well as the parallel peace agreement with Anwar Sad...

Sep 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Menachem Begin: A Life

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