JERUSALEM (Sep. 5)
The following message from Menachem Begin on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah, 5744, was issued here several days before he announced his resignation as Premier.
5743 was a difficult and painful year. With all our hearts, we pay homage to the precious sons of our people who gave their lives to assure the security of the northern part of our country. We pray for the recovery of those wounded in this fight against a cruel enemy.
As we look at the events of the past and anticipate the days and months ahead, there is cause for some comfort and satisfaction.
During this year we signed an agreement with Lebanon terminating the state of war. Lebanon is the second of our immediate neighbors to sign such an agreement with us. Much remains to be done to give effect to the letter and spirit of that agreement. But the foundation has been laid.
We respect the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon and will leave its soil when, as it is under stood under the terms of the agreement, all foreign forces will withdraw. Meanwhile, we have begun preparations for the redeployment of our forces for the sake of the security of our men. Our northern neighbor will have to see to it that Lebanon is never again used as a springboard for attack against our population.
NEED TO CONFRONT THE PLO MENACE
Preventing the return of the PLO is essential not only for us. It is vital to the future stability of Lebanon, which has at last been partially freed from the domination of that barbaric force.
Gradually the Western world realizes that the PLO, operating from Beirut, was the center of international terrorism, undermining stability around the globe. On the basis of our experience, we urge the free democratic world to confront this menace until it is overcome.
SOME POSITIVE INDICATIONS
As we enter the New Year, there are positive indications that we may expect some developments in our foreign relations. Nations that had severed their ties with Israel ten years ago are now considering the restoration of normal diplomatic relations. And we are especially pleased that some of those who moved their embassies out of Jerusalem are returning. We hope it will not be long before all of them do so. The day will surely come when all nations with whom we have normal diplomatic relations will recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of our country and that their embassies should be here.
We derive satisfaction from the growing acceptance of our people’s right to live in Judaea and Samaria. Our presence there is not an obstacle to peace but, on the contrary, an encouragement to peaceful coexistence. We have always maintained that there is adequate room for Jews and Arabs to live together in mutual respect, in dignity and in peace.
Let us now apply ourselves to the tasks of strengthening our people residing in the land. We must strive for greater unity of purpose within the diversity of opinion in our democratic society. Let us combine all our forces into one strong nation — veterans and newcomers, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, city-dwellers and the farming community, religious and non-observant. We are all part of this great ancient and renewed House of Israel.
There are still large numbers of our brethren who yearn to join us, but are prevented from doing so by the hostile policies of their governments in the Soviet Union, Iran, Ethiopia and Syria. Again we urge the leaders of those nations to let our people go. They are not hostages, they are not refugees; they do seek to exercise their elementary human right to repatriation.
And our brethren in the free world should know that the greatest contribution they can make to the Israel they love is to come here and share in its development and its upbuilding.
Strengthened in numbers, in spirit and in resolve, we shall ensure that our beloved Eretz Israel will endure, will flourish and will shine for all generations to come.
As we enter the New Year 5744, my heartfelt greetings go out to the entire Jewish people from our eternal capital, Jerusalem.