Begin, Ze'ev Binyamin

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BEGIN, ZE'EV BINYAMIN (1943– ), Israeli geologist and politician. Member of the Twelfth to Fourteenth Knessets. Ze'ev Binyamin Begin was born in Jerusalem, the son of Menaḥem *Begin. He studied geology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his doctorate from the University of Colorado in the United States in 1978, later working in the Geological Survey of Israel as head of the environmental unit and the unit for the mapping of maritime geology. He entered politics in 1988 at the behest of his father. As a Knesset member. he was always noted for his modesty, and the fact that he usually arrived at the Knesset by public transportation. When Yitzḥak *Shamir invited Reḥav'am *Ze'evi to join his government in February 1991, he was one of several members of the Likud who objected, because of Ze'evi's advocacy of the transfer of land to the Palestinians.

Begin contested the leadership of the Likud in March 1993, following the party's defeat in the elections to the Thirteenth Knesset, but was defeated by Binyamin *Netanyahu. In the government formed by Netanyahu after the elections, he was appointed minister of science. Despite being part of the government, Begin strongly criticized Netanyahu's contacts with the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser *Arafat, and Netanyahu's willingness to fulfill Israel's undertakings under the Tab'a Agreement for a partial withdrawal from Hebron. He made constant efforts to prove that the Palestinians were systematically violating their commitments under the Declaration of Principles of September 1993, especially abrogation of the articles in the Palestine National Covenant that spoke of the destruction of Israel. After voting in the government twice within one week against resolutions proposed by the prime minister, Begin resigned from the government. Together with two additional members he left the Likud-Gesher-Tsomet parliamentary group and set up a new parliamentary group by the name of Ḥerut. Begin did not run for election in the Fifteenth Knesset and returned to his previous work as a geologist, on rare occasions coming out publicly on an issue, such as opposition to Prime Minister Ariel *Sharon's plan in 2004 to dismantle all the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and several in Northern Samaria.

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]