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Providing a compelling look at the life of one man, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center ultimately delivers insight not only into the first half-century of the Israeli experience but also into the universal nature of leadership. A visit to Jerusalem's Begin Museum is a spectacular multi-media journey experiencing and observing the significant moments of Israel's history through the eyes of one of the leaders of the nation. The story is told using original and restored items, rare video footage, re-enactments, dramatic music and lighting and is told in Menachem Begin's own words. Audio guide headphones are available in several languages including Spanish, French, Russian, and Arabic. The museum conveys Begin's core values and impresses visitors with Israel's sixth prime minister's dedication to the state of Israel and the people of Israel. In the heart of Jerusalem, overlooking Mt. Zion and the Old City walls, the Begin Center houses a vibrant cultural center. Based on the concept of a US Presidential Library, it is also a resource center for historians, researchers and filmmakers seeking out information about Menachem Begin, historical topics related to him and of interest to him. The Center sponsors lecture series, courses, musical events, cultural events and more.
The archives hold Menachem Begin's original documents and is a branch of the national archives. On the grounds of the Begin Center is an archeological garden that is the site where one of the most significant archeological treasures in Israel's history was found, the Priestly Blessing silver scroll. The site provides a visitor with an understanding of First Temple period burial practices. Other treasures found there suggest continuous dwelling in the area, including Roman coins and Ottoman weapons caches. The educational programming is imbued with Begin's values. For Israeli schoolchildren, there is the dynamic Junior Knesset program, for soldiers there are leadership workshops, for Diaspora young adults there is the Israel Government Fellows Program - the only program in Israel that allows foreigners to intern in government offices.
The Center also houses a library, research center, auditorium, a synagogue and a full calendar of programs open to the public. Menachem Begin, a passionate Zionist, was a youth leader in Betar in Poland, was arrested for his activities by the NKVD, and eventually made his way to Palestine where he became the leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, an underground movement working toward an independent state of Israel. After the birth of the state, Begin led the Opposition for 29 years and in 1977, on a platform championing equality for all Israelis, he became Prime Minister. During his time as Prime Minister, Begin forged a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab country, and for which he was the first Israeli Prime Minister to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
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