Begin memorial

Cabinet representatives absent from ceremony commemorating 14 years since passing of prime minister Menachem Begin; Likud MK: Many of them got promoted because of Begin. Government: Our obligation is to send representatives to memorial services during first year anniversary, every 10 years thereafter

Menachem Begin was among the prime ministers who won much appreciation by the Israeli public – some even admired him – yet the government didn’t find it important enough to send even one representative to his memorial service on Thursday, commemorating 14 years since his passing. In March of 1992, tens of thousands of people went by the casket of Menachem Begin, who passed away after a long illness. Today, only a handful of family members and friends showed up at his gravesite in the Olive Mountain Cemetery. Among those in attendance were Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and Likud MKs Gilad Erdan and Gideon Sa’ar. „It’s shameful. It’s regretful that no government representative bothered to show up to the memorial service”, said MK Sa’ar. „We know that they diverted from Begin’s direction, still, they could have paid respect to a leader and a man who symbolized the way.” MK Erdan added, “They abandoned the way and the values. Many of them got promoted because of Begin. I feel sorry; we tried to have the young generation here at least. It’s not educational”. Chairman of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu chose not talk to the media, and the son of the late prime minister, Benny Begin, kept silent as usual. In response to the lack of an official government representative, government sources said „According to the decision of the Ministers’ Committee of Protocols and Ceremonies, an official state memorial service is held for presidents and prime ministers who passed away on the first anniversary and every 10 years thereafter. We point out that every year on the first day of Nisan we hold a national memorial service to all deceased presidents and prime ministers.” The government sources continued to say that „the family memorial service of the late prime minister Menachem Begin was scheduled for next Sunday (the exact memorial date falls on Saturday). We found out that the family decided to schedule it earlier, for Thursday. For some unknown reason, the Acting Prime Minister’s Office was not informed of the change.”