Benjamin Begin, son of late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, could be the man to watch in Israel’s newly formed security cabinet.

Although he lacks a political portfolio, his importance surpasses other members of the cabinet, which also includes: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a former Israel prime minister; Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman; Strategic Affairs Minister Bugi Yaalon; and Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor.

Mr. Begin has a history of opposing, giving concessions to the Palestinians. He resigned from the previous Netanyahu government in January 1997 after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relinquished Israeli control over Hebron.

He left Likud following the conclusion of the Wye River Memorandums in October 1998, which called for the redeployment of Israeli forces. This effectively ended Mr. Netanyahu’s last government. Mr. Begin also opposed what he saw as former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s corruption and disloyalty from early on.

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During a Knesset discussion last Wednesday on Jerusalem Day, Mr. Begin quoted extensively from remarks made by Abbas Zaki, a Palestinian Authority leader, on May 7.

In those comments, Mr. Zaki said: “The Jews view Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as their historic dream. After they evacuate those lands, they will get out of Jerusalem. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. Then they will move forward.”

Mr. Begin used these comments to remind the Israeli public of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) plan of destroying Israel through diplomatic, as well as military means, over the course of several phases.

The other members of the security cabinet share Mr. Begin’s skepticism about the Palestinians.

Mr. Barak has long since lost faith in negotiations with the Palestinians. Mr. Lieberman opposes any form of withdrawal and has often said that the negotiations with the Palestinians have no chance of moving forward.

Mr. Yaalon, who served as the Israeli army chief of staff from 2001-2005, is probably the most severe in his position toward the Palestinians. He has written a recent book, not yet translated into English, where he openly states he does not believe in any peace plan. He writes that peace likely might only be possible three or four generations from now.

The strategic affairs minister believes that the process has to begin from the bottom, step by step, but only on the economic and municipal level, nothing on the national level.

In his book, Mr. Yaalon writes the Palestinian Authority must pass an unlimited number of tests before any progress can be made. They include altering Palestinian school curriculums calling for Israel’s destruction and its existence as a Jewish state.

Mr. Meridor, who was actively involved in the failed negotiations with the Palestinians at Camp David under the aegis of former President Bill Clinton in the summer of 2000, has often expressed how surprised he was with the seriousness of the Palestinian demand for the “right of return” to Arab villages that were lost in 1948, which have since been replaced by Israeli towns, collective farms and woodlands.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.