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Begin, Carter Exchange Messages on the Next Step Toward Peace

August 21, 1978
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Premier Menachem Begin celebrated his 65th birthday last night by sending President Carter a message to thank him for his birthday greetings. The President stated he hoped Begin’s birthday would signal “the beginning of the successful culmination of our hopes for peace.”

Begin, noting that Carter’s greetings provided him with a source of encouragement on the road to peace and security, added that he was deeply moved by the message. The Premier stated in his reply: “My generation has witnessed tragic and momentous events associated with much suffering and has lived to see redemption in the land of our forefathers. Now we work with your help, Mr. President, for the great cause of peace and we hope to bring its blessings to our people and to our neighbors.”

More than 1000 invited guests helped the Premier celebrate his birthday. They compromised former Irgun underground members, senior military officers, Cabinet ministers, Knesset members and representatives of the diplomatic corps and their families, including U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis and Canadian Ambassador Edward Lee. The diplomatic corps was represented by the Ambassador from the Dominican Republic, who, in congratulating Begin, noted that he has served in Israel for eight years, during which time he has come to love the country and its people. He also expressed his hopes that Begin would bring peace.

A long parade of waiters, dressed in spotless uniforms and carrying plates replete with tantalizing bits of food, made its way by foot in the afternoon hours from the Plaza Hotel to the Premier’s nearby residence. (Vehicle transport of the delicacies was avoided so as not to desecrate the Sabbath.) However, some of the 1000 guests were not so concerned with the Sabbath, and their cars filled up the adjoining streets by late afternoon.

The evening was conducted in festive spirits on all sides, with planned entertainment and spontaneous singing rendering the affair a noisy one. Begin’s grandchildren gathered behind the microphones and sang a medly of tunes. Songs of a different nature were song by the farmer Irgun fighters, who constituted the largest proportion of the guests invited to the party. Together with the Premier, they sat outside on the lawn and sang underground tunes after most of the guests had departed.

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