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Ze'ev Binyamin (Benny) Begin, ( , born 1 March 1943) is an Israelimarker geologist and politician. A member of the Knesset for Likud, he is the son of former Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin.


Benny Begin was born in Jerusalemmarker to Menachem and Aliza Begin. He studied geology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalemmarker. After completing his undergraduate and graduate studies, he worked for the Geological Survey of Israel. He completed his doctorate in geology at Colorado State Universitymarker in 1978.

Political career

First elected to the Knesset in 1988 as a Likud MK, Begin ran in the Likud primary in 1993 to succeed Yitzhak Shamir as party leader but was defeated by Benjamin Netanyahu. Under Netanyahu's government (1996-1999), Begin served as Science Minister until 1997 when he resigned in protest against the Hebron Agreement.

He subsequently led hardliners out of the Likud with the hope of reviving the Herut political party founded by his father. With full support from former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Herut – The National Movement departed from the Likud and joined other right-wing parties to form an alliance opposing the Oslo Accords, the National Union. Due to the National Union's poor showing in the 1999 elections, Begin resigned his seat and quit politics. In turn, Begin resumed his career in science and education, and was appointed Director of the Geological Survey of Israel.

On November 2, 2008, Begin announced his return to politics and the Likud party, as well as his intention to seek a place on the Likud list for the 2009 elections. He ultimately won fifth place on the party's list, and returned to the Knesset with Likud winning 27 seats. Netanyahu had promised Begin a ministerial position if Likud won the election and honored that promise by appointing Begin a Minister without Portfolio in the new government.

Political views

In an interview in Haaretz magazine, Begin explained his opposition to a Palestinian state, proposing instead an Arab autonomy under Israeli control, since "without security control in Samaria, Judea and Gaza there will be no security in Tel Aviv, either." He concludes with his belief that we must "live together with people who do not want us...[and] behave humanely and decently both with the Israeli citizens who are not Jews and with those who are not citizens. Is there a contradiction between my nationalism and my liberalism? I believe that this is a day-to-day effort to which I and he is obligated."


  1. 'Benny' Begin leaving politics after poor showing in elections Jewish News Weekly, 21 May 1999
  2. Ex-cabinet minister Benny Begin announces return to Likud Haaretz, 2 November 2008
  3. Netanyahu sworn in as Israel's prime minister Haaretz, 1 April 2009.
  4. 'Theater of the Absurd' Haaretz

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