Menachem Begin

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Begin, Menachem

(mĕnä`khĕm bā`gĭn), 1913–92, Zionist leader and Israeli prime minister (1977–83), b. Russia. He became (1938) leader of a Zionist youth movement in Poland, where he also earned a law degree. Begin went to Palestine in 1942; there, he headed the Irgun, a militant organization that fought against the British Mandate authorities. After 1949 he sat in the Knesset, where he led the opposition to the Labor party. In May, 1977, Begin's right-wing Likud party defeated Labor for the first time, and Begin became prime minister. He shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar al-SadatSadat, Anwar al-
, 1918–81, Egyptian political leader and president (1970–81). He entered (1936) Abbasia Military Academy, where he became friendly with Gamal Abdal Nasser and other fellow cadets committed to Egyptian nationalism.
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 as a result of the Camp David accordsCamp David accords,
popular name for the peace treaty forged in 1978 between Israel and Egypt at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. The official agreement was signed on Mar. 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C.
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. In 1982, Begin authorized a massive invasion of LebanonLebanon
, officially Lebanese Republic, republic (2005 est. pop. 3,826,000), 4,015 sq mi (10,400 sq km), SW Asia. The country is bordered on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, on the north and east by Syria and on the south by Israel. The capital is Beirut.
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 in order to destroy military bases of the Palestine Liberation OrganizationPalestine Liberation Organization
(PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt.
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 (see Arab-Israeli WarsArab-Israeli Wars,
conflicts in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1973–74, and 1982 between Israel and the Arab states. Tensions between Israel and the Arabs have been complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers.
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). The war caused intense domestic and international pressure and failed to achieve Israel's principal aims. Begin resigned from office in 1983.

Bibliography

See A. Perlmutter, The Life and Times of Menachem Begin (1987).

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