At first, there were approximately 1000 people in his army, of which only 200 were actual fighters. This number rose to 5000 in 1947.This “army” carried out almost 300 acts in Begin’s four years of command. Each act was carefully weighed and considered.
Three operations especially stand out: blowing up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem – the center of the British government, breaking into the Acre prison and releasing Lehi and Etzel prisoners and conquering Jaffa. Begin’s main role was to chart the policies of the underground, to gain the support of the public and to ensure the efficient running of the organization. Begin applied strict restrictions to the organization’s war. Everything they did was directed against the British army, its facilities and its soldiers, their police and secret police and representatives of the mandatory government. The civilian population was out of bounds and was not a target, even if, unintentionally, civilians were sometimes killed. When members of the Irgun, (Etzel) were persecuted by the Yishuv, and especially by the Haganah, Begin forbade his people from responding. Thanks to this restraint, he prevented a Civil War on two occasions. First, at the time of the Saison, from the end of 1944 till the middle of 1945, when Haganah people captured members of the Etzel and handed them over to the British. The second time was the Atalena Affair and the disbanding of the Etzel which began in June 1948 with the integration of Etzel forces into the IDF. Begin made an announcement to his fellow soldiers, which was broadcast from the Etzel radio station the day after Israel declared its independence on May 15th.
In his speech, which he considered his most important one, he said, among other things, “Our only prize is that we have lived to see our nation free itself and really fight – the whole nation – for its liberty. Our true prize will be when we live to see – if we return from the front – all over the cities, the mountains and the valleys, Hebrew children playing without fear hanging overhead. Overhead there is an airplane, a Hebrew airplane and a soldier approaches, and he is a Hebrew soldier, and from afar a train rattles and it is a Hebrew train. Is there any greater joy?”
After the disbanding of the Etzel in the summer of 1948, Begin founded the Herut movement and for many years he served as its undisputed leader. Begin strongly opposed the reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany and he supported the government during every war that Israel fought. When the Likud won the 1977 election (the “Revolution”), Begin became prime minister. In 1979, he signed a peace treaty with Egypt. In 1982, he led the country in “Operation Peace for Galilee” which turned into the first Lebanese war. Begin was the sixth prime minister of the State of Israel.