Born on August 16, 1913, into an era of world wars, Menachem Begin was influenced by romantic Polish nationalism and the Italian figure Giuseppe Garibaldi. His character was shaped within the confines of a home that combined Jewish tradition with the early buds of Zionism. Begin's political activity started in 1925, when he, together with his two siblings, joined the Shomer Hatzair, the only Zionist youth movement in Brest-Litovsk at the time. Brest-Litovsk, known by the Jews as Brisk, was a town geographically situated between Russia and Poland. At the age of twenty-six, Begin almost gave up politics when he met his future wife, Aliza Arnold. During World War II, his parents and brother were murdered by the Nazis. When Begin became the prime minister of Israel, he avoided elaborating on the effects of Polish nationalism on his concepts of Jewish nationalism.
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