Begin: War in Lebanon Has Ensured Peace for the Foreseeable Future

Israel’s “Peace for Galilee” operation strengthened the country’s deterrent power and ensured peace for the foreseeable future, Premier Menachem Begin told 1,000 United Jewish Appeal leaders from the United States attending the UJA’s Campaign Leadership Gathering in Israel. Syria and Jordan, Begin observed, “would not dare” and were “not capable” of attacking Israel and Egypt was abiding by the peace treaty with Israel.

Begin won rousing applause when he told the UJA leaders at their closing session Thursday night that the war in Lebanon had ensured “children in Galilee can go to school in peace and grow up without fear.” Continuing, he declared: “We have nothing to apologize for. We save human lives … but indeed tragedies happen … unforeseen … they mar great events.”

The Premier also called for the immediate resumption of the Camp David talks “for full, real autonomy” and once again stressed that Israel would never agree to a Palestinian state.

He confirmed that Israel would now be prepared to share the lessons and information derived from the Lebanon war with the United States in the interests of the “free world of which we are a part and which we want to help strengthen.” Begin specifically mentioned in this connection the “discovery” that the Israel Defense Force had put to use in its successful actions against Syrian missiles and planes during the war.

On Thursday afternoon, the UJA group was joined by Project Renewal friends and thousands of ordinary Jerusalemites in a song-and-dance march through the streets of the capital to an assembly at the Western Wall. There Mayor Teddy Kollek proclaimed that the assembly symbolized fundamental Jewish unity that continued as strong as ever despite political differences. Deputy Premier David Levy, of the Herut wing of Likud, also stressed Jewish unity in Israel and abroad during these trying times.

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