Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 1

Volume 4, Issue 1
October 17, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 330,997

Welcome to Volume 4!

This week we open Volume 4 of the Bulletin which has been emailed to many hundreds of people in Israel and abroad regularly for the past three years since the Begin Center became fully operational. At the close of the last volume, the total number of visitors in the three years reached 330,384 which is an average of 110,128 per year. The annual number has been GROWING by more than 5,000 per year.

The figure is contrary to the trend in the US where according to a recent article "attendance at most presidential libraries and museums is down—way down in some cases. The number of visitors is declining at eight of the eleven Libraries."

Before the decline started, these were numbers per annum in actual terms in some of the American Presidential Libraries:

Herbert Hoover 60-70,000

Franklin D. Roosevelt 105,000

Harry S. Truman 105,000

Dwight D. Eisenhower 81,500

Gerald Ford 53,245

Jimmy Carter 86,087

Considering that the US population is at least fifty times larger than that of Israel, the attendance figure at the Begin Center is all the more astonishing. This would also apply to those US Libraries whose actual numbers are higher than the Begin Center's, but in relative terms they are much, much lower. For example, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, attracted 266,752; the John F. Kennedy library attracted 222,000. Even the newer libraries, the George Bush (the father) Library with 144,000, the Ronald Reagan Library with 191,000 and the Bill Clinton Library with 490,000 have not attracted a higher relative number of visitors. A recent revamping of the Lincoln Library with a new museum and exhibition attracted about 1 million visitors in a year. In relative terms, this would be the equivalent of about 20,000 visitors to the Begin Center.

What Begin Did With His Nobel Prize Money

Much interest has been aroused and there is a great deal of discussion about the announcement by former Vice President Al Gore that he will contribute the total sum he is to receive from the Nobel Prize Committee to the Alliance for Climate Protection. The amount he will receive is $750,000, which is half of this year's Nobel Prize award.

It is truly a generous gesture, but in the case of Al Gore, it should be recalled that he comes from a wealthy family.

This was not the case with a previous Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, whose half share of the award in 1978 totaled $82,574.

On his return to Jerusalem from the ceremony, he and his wife Aliza announced that they were donating the full sum to establish the Aliza and Menachem Begin Nobel Peace Prize Fund to be distributed among needy students tutoring young school children who come from a disadvantaged area.

This tradition continues and each year the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, which is in charge of the Aliza and Menachem Begin Nobel Prize Fund, awards the scholarships at the annual Menachem Begin Prize ceremony which is held during Chanukah.

Mazal Tov

A hearty Mazal Tov to Yisrael and Batya Medad on the birth of their grandson, Yochai, the son of Tzurya and Oren Luzon. Yisrael Medad is Director of Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

In Memoriam

We regret to record the death of Mr. Mordechai (Mottel) Kreiner of Savyon, Israel, who before his aliyah was an active member of American Betar and for many years a well-known businessman in Israel. He is survived by his wife, Iris, his children and grandchildren to whom we extend our sincere condolences.


The Ambassador of Colombia, Mr. Juan Hurtado Cano, and Mr. Jorge Echeverri, his political and commercial adviser, visited the Begin Center on Tuesday morning where they were received by the Founder and President of the Begin Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, and Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov. They were taken around the Center, the museum and other parts of the building by Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al, Elkana Efrati and their museum guide, Noam Zamir.

The Ambassador was delighted to receive a gift of Harry Hurwitz's book, Begin: His Life, Words and Deeds to mark the occasion.

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Four members of the Mowszowski family from Australia visited and were deeply moved by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and especially by the museum. They were Chanania and Shelly Mowszowski and Mr. and Mrs. Rafi Mowszowski who were recently married. Rafi is the son of Zalman and Aviva Mowszowski.

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Marcel and Mathy Danon of Cape Town, South Africa were on a short visit to Israel last week and, as always on such occasions, came to the Begin Center where they were received by the head Founder and President, Harry Hurwitz, who briefed them on developments in the Project. As they had not previously seen the Jerusalem Elevator donated by Sindy and Barry Liben of New York and dedi cated to the American Betar, Hurwitz took them on a special ride in this popular feature in the museum.

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Mr. Ezra Altshuler of Durban, South Africa, was a welcome visitor to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.