Menachem Begin Appears Thinner, but Alert, on His Annual Outing

Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin made one of his rare appearances in public Sunday. It was his annual outing to say Kaddish at the grave of his wife, Aliza, whose death seven years ago triggered the depression that propelled him out of office.

Wearing a blue suit and a blue hat, Begin arrived at the graveside, supported by his daughters, Hasia and Leah. He and his son, Binyamin, recited the memorial prayer.

The once fiery leader of the Likud bloc, who made peace with Egypt and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, seemed a shadow of his former self.

He looked thinner than ever and physically weak. There was a frozen smile on his face as his family escorted him through crowds of spectators at the cemetery.

But Begin, who is 76, appeared mentally alert. He had a word for whomever shook his hand, and he recognized his former associates.

To Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, his successor, Begin said, “Welcome back, Sir, and good luck in whatever you do.”

Shamir had just returned from a two-week visit to the United States and Western Europe.

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