The Nobel Peace Prize 1978
Born: 16 August 1913, Brest Litovsk, Russian Empire (now Belarus)
Died: 9 March 1992, Tel Aviv, Israel
Residence at the time of the award: Israel
Role: Prime Minister of Israel
Prize motivation: “for jointly having negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel in 1978”
Prize share: 1/2
From Terror to a Peace Treaty with Egypt
When Israel's Prime Minister Begin came to Oslo to receive the Peace Prize, there were such violent demonstrations against him that the award ceremony had to be moved to Akershus fortress. Begin shared the Peace Prize with Egypt's President Anwar el-Sadat for the peace treaty concluded between Israel and Egypt. The so-called Camp David Accords were negotiated under pressure from US President Jimmy Carter.
Menachem Begin was born in Poland, where he joined an extremist Zionist movement that wanted to establish a Jewish state in Palestine by force. During the Second World War Begin was in custody in the Soviet Union before he, with incredible luck, managed to get to Jerusalem. There he became the leader of the Irgun Zwai Leumi organization which resorted to terror both against the British authorities and against Palestine's Arab inhabitants. Irgun also fought the Israeli army until Begin accepted David Ben Gurion's supreme leadership. In 1977 Begin became Prime Minister when the conservative Likud alliance won the election.