On July 15, 1977, prior to his first meeting with President Carter, Prime Minister Menachem Begin came to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the most influential spiritual leader of world Jewry today. Before their private meeting which lasted over two hours, during which they discussed, no doubt, the situation of world Jewry, particularly in reference to Israel, they held a brief press-conference for the international press and media. Premier Begin spoke first in Hebrew and then the Rebbe spoke in Yiddish ("the language of the Jews of Russia from whom I come," the Rebbe). They were then asked to repeat, what they had said in English for the benefit of American newsmen and television audiences.
A transcript of this remarkable and unprecedented press conference follows:
Prime Minister Begin: I have come tonight to our great Master and Teacher, the Rabbi, to ask from him his Blessings before I go to Washington to meet President Carter for the important talks we are going to hold on the future of the Middle East.
The people in Israel pray for success of these very important meetings. I do not call them fateful meetings because the people of Israel, the Jewish People, are an eternal people, and their lot and future are not dependent on a political meeting with the leader of the free world.
However such a meeting has great importance for our future and therefore I have asked for the blessings of the Rabbi, of our great Teacher.
Rabbi Schneerson is a great man in Israel. All of us respect him; all of us accept his judgment. He is a great lover of the House of Israel. He has shown his deep sentiment and love for our children. His blessings are very important to me. I hope they will strengthen me and this very important mission I am going to fulfill during the meetings with President Carter, the president of the United States.
And let us all hope that out of these meetings there will come an advancement towards security and peace, real peace, between Israel and the Arab countries, the peace for which we yearn and pray and which eventually will reign in the Middle East.
Reporter: Would the Rabbi care to say something.
The Rebbe: My main pronouncement was in the language of the Jews of Russia from whom I come.
But I only add a few words to recapitulate my Blessings for the great success of this very important mission of the Premier Minister and also To underline a second time that I accept this honor of his visit certainly not on my personal account, but on the account of the movement of Lubavitch which was dedicated for centuries to permeate the Jewish people everywhere with the full faith in G-d Al-mighty. And in their faith that they'll have their wishes for good fulfilled, in holding on to our tradition of Torah and Mitzvos to go from strength to strength in spreading kindness and goodness around us, and that will also be a good vessel to accept the Blessings of G-d Almighty in all their needs, in Diaspora and in the Holy Land, and to have real peace as a preparation for the coming of Messiah speedily in our times.
And of course a special thanks to the Premier, Prime Minister, and also through him to the Jews in Eretz Yisroel - in our Holy Land in general.
Reporter: So you are giving Mr. Begin your Blessings in effect.
The Rebbe: Yes. More than a hundred percent.
Don't be offended by my accent.
Reporter: It was very clear, no problem.
Reporter: That's your Blessing, Sir?
The Rebbe: Yes, I said it is no problem for the Holy Land also. You want to help?
The Rebbe: Make life easier for them. You can do something in the media.
Is there anything I can do?
Reporter: I think you have more influence than we do!
Try your best, nevertheless.
|The Rebbe greets Prime Minister Menachem Begin|
|The Rebbe speaks to reporters|