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Published 00:40 23.05.14

American Jews and the Israeli right: the end of a beautiful friendship?

By Chemi Shalev

The unexpected election of Menachem Begin as prime minister in 1977 shocked American Jewry. Begin, the Revisionist and “terrorist,” with his Eastern European mannerisms and his Middle Eastern supporters, was the ideological rival of Zionist icons such as Ben Gurion and Golda and looked nothing like mythological heroes Moshe Dayan or Paul Newman’s Ari Ben Canaan. Outside of a small coterie of jubilant American supporters from his pre-State Irgun days, Begin’s election sent most of the Jewish establishment into panic mode.