On October 30 this year I received a letter from Yaakov Hagoel, the newly elected Chairman of the World Zionist Organization. He talked about Menachem Begin as the person who inspired him in the way he hoped to manage the WZO. I will quote some of his letter. The full letter can be downloaded here.
“In 1897 a scattered people gathered together in what seemed almost surreal. For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, Jewish representatives from dozens of communities around the world assembled to discuss the return to their homeland. Theodor Herzl, the Visionary of the State and the other early leaders saw Zionism as the fulfillment of the natural and historic right of our people and instilled within the delegates of the Zionist Congress a sense of unity.
The World Zionist Organization is the organization that brought about the rebirth of the State of Israel. It serves as the government of the Jewish people, which gathers and unites under its wings various opinions, views, denominations and challenges faced by the Jewish people, both in the Diaspora and in Israel.
When Menachem Begin was elected prime minister in 1977, he was asked in what style he would run the government. He replied, “in a good Jewish style.” Inspired by this great leader, I strive to manage this important organization in a good Jewish, Zionist, ethical style, working together with the members of the Zionist Executive in Israel and in the Diaspora.
Today I take on the important role of leading the Zionist movement. I do this out of humble reverence and the realization of the eternal values of our people — values of freedom, mutual respect, identity and tradition.
My dear friends, members of the organization, representatives of the Jewish communities, those from different denominations with various views, we all share one goal with one vision reserved uniquely for our people.
I look forward to working together for the continued fulfillment of our vision.
“Behold, a people that rises like a lioness and raises itself up like a lion.” Numbers 23:24 “Turned a rag into a flag, and a miserable rabble into a people, gathered upright around that flag.” Theodor Herzl, 1901
With the love of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.
Chairman of the Zionist Executive
ARZA President, Helen Shardey