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Statement by Begin

In a message to Jewish communities throughout the world on the occasion of Israel’s 30th anniversary, Premier Menachem Begin affirmed that “We shall not cease in our effort to achieve the peace and security for which we yearn.” He declared that “The renewal of our independence in the land of Israel” more than 18 centuries after the Roman conquest “is a unique event in the annals of mankind.”

Also unique, Begin continued, is the history of the past 30 years. “Our State was attacked time and again. We had to fight many battles in order to maintain our independence. At the same time there was a magnificent process of building up the country, of turning desert land into green pasture, of bringing in the exiles of our people from the four corners of the world, of the most creative work in every sphere of life.”

It is equally true, Begin observed, that for the last 30 years “we have not enjoyed a single day of peace. We embarked last year, in the wake of ceaseless previous efforts, on the road of direct negotiations to establish peace between ourselves and our neighbors. Despite all the difficulties, we believe that this noble goal will be reached.”

Begin said that Israel owes a special debt and concern for the Jews in the Soviet Union. “Their return to Judaism, their plight and their fight for the return to the Land of Israel is, historically, the second greatest event of our time, after the renewal of our independence,” the Premier stated. “We must stand by them and wage an incessant campaign for their inalienable right to reach the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

Begin noted that there are difficulties in many spheres of Israeli life. “But if we remember where we were and what we were only one generation ago, in the 30s and in the 40s, and how, with our own initiative, sacrifice and effort, we changed fundamentally the situation of our people from tragedy to triumph, we have reason to believe that we shall overcome all the obstacles and guarantee the future of our children’s children.”