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Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk, Russia (now Brest, in Belarus), studied law in Warsaw and fled to the USSR in 1939.
He was the leader of the extremist Irgun Zvai Leumi organisation in Palestine from 1942 (he was responsible in 1946 for a bomb attack at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, which killed over 100 people) and prime minister of Israel from 1977 to 1983, as head of the right-wing Likud party.
In 1978 he and Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1981 Begin won a new term of office, but his health was failing.
The death of his wife in 1982 was a grave blow, resulting in his retirement in September 1983. For the rest of his life, he was a virtual recluse.
Begin suffered a severe heart attack on 3 March 1992 and was rushed to Ichilov Hospital, where he was put in the intensive care unit.
A pacemaker was implanted on 5 March, but Begin was too frail to overcome the effects of the heart attack, and his condition began to deteriorate. Menachem Begin died in the early hours of the morning on 9 March 1992.