Light of a Life

In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

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Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

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April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

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Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

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Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

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April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

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Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

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Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

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The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 17, 2003 / 20 Elul, 5763

How to negotiate for ‘peace’

By Yehuda Avner

Painting above: "M. Begin" by Seth Lipsky, 1987, oil on canvas. All rights reserved.
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On the 25th anniversary of the signing of a peace treaty framework between Israel and Egypt at Camp David, a lesson in leadership that you won't soon forget. | Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, ran an austere White House. Consonant with his innate Calvinistic intuitions, he cast himself in the role of citizen-president. He banned Hail to the Chief, slashed the entertainment budget, sold the presidential yacht, pruned the limousine fleet, and generally rid his mansion of foppery, artifice, and pretentiousness. He even carried his own bag.

So when he welcomed prime minister Menachem Begin to the White House in July 1977 with a flamboyant ceremony fit for a king - replete with a 19-gun salute, a march-past of all the armed services, and a choreographed parade of the Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in the white livery of the Revolutionary War - the media rightly conjectured that this was a token of either high esteem or pure flattery.

US ambassador Samuel Lewis confided that it was a bit of both: "The president was persuaded that in dealing with Begin honey would get him a lot further than vinegar," he said.

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And, indeed, the talks did get off to a decent start. The two leaders and their advisers exchanged views on such sensitive topics as an Israel-Arab peace parley in Geneva, the Soviet mischief in the Horn of Africa, and the PLO menace from Southern Lebanon. Then came a pause, and when coffee was served the president and the premier sipped in silence, each sizing the other up as if by mutual consent in preparation for what was next to come.

And what came next was an amazingly detailed presentation of the Likud creed on the inalienable rights of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael. This being the first summit between a Likud premier and an American president, Menachem Begin was determined that Jimmy Carter hear firsthand what he stood for.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, an unruffled man as a rule, became quite agitated upon hearing that Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip were not to be relinquished. He contended that this would put pay to any plan for a Geneva peace conference.

The president thought so, too. Carter wore a mask of politeness as he peered at his notes, written in his neat penmanship on heavy bond White House stationary, but one could tell by his clenched jaw that irritation lurked beneath. He said in his reedy Georgian accent: "Mr. Prime Minister, my impression is that your insistence on your rights over the West Bank and Gaza would be regarded as an indication of bad faith. It would be a signal of your apparent intention to make the military occupation of these areas permanent.

"It will close off all hopes of negotiations. It would be incompatible with my responsibilities as president of the United States if I did not put this to you as bluntly and as candidly as I possibly can. Mr. Begin," Carter railed, exasperation flaring in his steely, pale-blue eyes, "there can be no permanent military occupation of those conquered territories."

We Israeli officials around the conference table in the Cabinet Room, where the meeting was held, eyed each other with sideways squints. But Begin had readied himself for this encounter with this post-Watergate president of moral renewal - Carter the preacher with a penchant for self-righteousness.

So he leaned back and gazed with deceptively mild eyes above the president's head at the old brass chandelier hanging over the grand oak table. He was not going to be rushed.

He knew that he and the president were on vastly different trajectories, a no-exit confrontation on the settlement of the biblical heartland. Carter was as cast iron as himself. He would not bend. Nevertheless, Begin had somehow to persuade this judgmental man, who wanted to be a healer, this energetic doer with the empirical mind of an engineer, that he honestly and truly wanted peace, and that the territories were not only a matter of historic rights but also of vital security.

So when he returned Carter's stare he did so with a look that was grave and commanding.

"Mr. President," he said, "I wish to tell you something personal - not about me, but about my generation. What you have just heard about the Jewish people's inherent rights to the Land of Israel may seem academic to you, theoretical, even moot. But not to my generation. To my generation of Jews these eternal bonds are indisputable and incontrovertible truths, as old as recorded time. They touch upon the very core of our national being.

"For we are an ancient homecoming nation. Ours is an almost biblical generation of suffering and courage. Ours is the generation of Destruction and Redemption. Ours is the generation that rose up from the bottomless pit of Hell."

His voice was mesmeric, his tone deeply reflective, as if reaching down into generations of memory. The sheer ardor of his language nudged the table to intense attention.

"We were a helpless people, Mr. President. We were bled white, not once, not twice, but century after century, over and over again. We lost a third of our people in one generation - mine. One-and-a-half million of them were children - ours. No one came to our rescue. We suffered and died alone. We could do nothing about it. But now we can. Now we can defend ourselves."

Suddenly he rose to his feet, his face as tough as steel. "I have a map," he said, intrepidly.

An aide snappily unrolled a 3x5 chart between the two men.

"There is nothing remarkable about this map," Begin went on. "It is quite a standard one of our country, displaying the old armistice line as it existed until the 1967 Six Day War, the so-called Green Line."

He ran his finger along the defunct frontier, which meandered down the center of the country.

"And as you see, our military cartographers have simply marked the infinitesimal mileages of defensive depth we had in that war." He leaned across the table and pointed to the deep brown-colored mountainous area which covered the northern sector of the map.

"The Syrians sat on top of these mountains, Mr. President. We were at the bottom." His finger marked the Golan Heights, and then rested on the green panhandle below. "This is the Hula Valley. It is hardly 10 miles wide. They shelled our towns and villages from the tops of those mountains, day and night." Carter gazed, his hands clamped under his chin.

The prime minister's finger now moved southwards, to Haifa: "The armistice line is hardly 20 miles away from our major port city," he said. And then it rested on Netanya: "Our country here was reduced to a narrow waist nine miles wide." The president nodded. "I understand," he said.

But Begin was not sure that he did. His finger trembled and his voice rumbled: "Nine miles, Mr. President. Inconceivable! Indefensible!" Carter made no comment.

The finger now hovered over Tel Aviv, and then it drummed the map: "Here live a million Jews, 12 miles from that indefensible armistice line. And here, between Haifa in the north and Ashkelon in the south" - his finger ran up and down the coastal plain - "live two-thirds of our total population.

"And this coastal plain is so narrow that a surprise thrust by a column of tanks could cut the country in two in a matter of minutes. For whosoever sits in these mountains" - his fingertips tapped the tops of Judea and Samaria - "holds the jugular vein of Israel in his hands."

His dark, watchful eyes swept the stone-faced features of the powerful men sitting opposite him, and with the conviction of one who had fought for everything he had ever gotten, tersely declared:

"Gentlemen, there is no going back to those lines. No nation in our merciless and unforgiving neighborhood can be rendered so vulnerable and survive."

Carter bent his head forward, the better to inspect the map, but still said nothing. His eyes were as indecipherable as water.

"Mr. President," continued Begin in a tone that brooked no indifference, "This is our map of national security, and I use that term in its most unembellished sense. It is our map of survival. And the distinction between the past and the present is just that: survival. Today, our menfolk can defend their women and children. In the past they could not. Indeed, they had to deliver them to their Nazi executioners. We were tertiated, Mr. President."

Carter lifted his head. "What was that word, Mr. Prime Minister?"

"Tertiated, not decimated. The origin of the word 'decimation' is one in 10. When a Roman legion was found guilty of insubordination one in 10 was put to the sword. In our case it was one in three - tertiated!"

And now, with moistening eyes, and in a voice that was deliberate, stubborn, his every word weighed, Begin declared, "Sir, I take an oath before you in the name of the Jewish people - this will never ever happen again."

And then he broke down. He compressed his lips, which began to tremble.

Unseeingly, he stared at the map, struggling to blink back the tears. He clenched his fists and pressed them so tightly against the tabletop, his knuckles went white. He stood there, head bent, heart-broken, dignified.

A hush, as silent as a vault, settled on the room. Seized by his private, infernal Shoah reverie, he peered past Carter with a strange reserve in his eyes, a remote stare. It were as if he was looking through this born-again, Southern Baptist president from way inside himself, from that deep, Jewish intimate place of infinite lament and eternal faith - the place of long, long memory. And hidden down there, in that place, he was standing with Moses and the Maccabees.

Carter bowed his head and remained in an attitude of respectful frozen stillness. Others looked away. The tick of the antique clock on the marble mantelpiece suddenly grew audible. An eternity seemed to hang between each tick. The silence was deafening. It was a thunderbolt of national resolve never to go back to those lines.

By degrees, in slow motion, the prime minister raised himself to his full height and the room came back to life. Carter considerately suggested a recess, but Begin said it wasn't necessary. He had made his point.

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The writer, a veteran diplomat, was an adviser to four prime ministers, including Menachem Begin. Comment on this article by clicking here.

This portrait of Menachem Begin is the best known of a series of Jewish heroes painted by Seth Lipsky, the editor of the New York Sun. The series includes, among others, Revisionist founder Vladimir Jabotinsky; Israeli general Ariel Sharon; Holocaust historian Lucy S. Dawidowicz; the young soldier Yitzhak Rabin; the hero of Tel Hai, Joseph Trumpeldor; and the Byelorussian martyr, Masha Bruskina. Though the painter is better known as the former editor of the Forward, he works at his easel every day and tells his intimates that painting is his "violin d'Ingres." (An allusion to French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whose real love was the violin.) Though Mr. Lipsky is exceptionally private about his paintings, Jewish World Review understands that the artist is represented by Charles Liebling, (212) 724-2594.

© 2003, Yehuda Avner