Menachem Begin (August 16, 1913 - March 9, 1992) became the 6th Prime Minister of Israel in May 1977. He negotiated the Camp David Accords with Egpytian president Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, for which they jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.
Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk, Russia (located in a region which became part of Poland from 1919 to 1939 and is today a part of Belarus and known simply as Brest) and since 1939 he was the leader of the Zionist Betar organisation. In 1940-1941 he was imprisoned in the USSR. In 1941 he volunteered to join the Polish army of Anders. Released from that army along with many other Jewish soldiers, in 1942 he joined the Irgun (also known as Etzel) and in 1947 assumed its leadership. He was responsible for the bombing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel that killed more than 70 people. In 1948 he was at the center of the shipping of Irgun arms to Israel, ending in the sinking of Altalena, by gunfire ordered by David Ben-Gurion.
In 1979, Begin signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty with Anwar Al-Sadat. Under the terms of the treaty, Israel handed over the Sinai peninsula to Egypt. This involved the demolishing of all Israeli settlements in the area (including the town of Yamit). Begin faced a strong internal opposition to this move, which led to a split in his own Likud party.
In 1982, Begin's government invaded Lebanon, citing the need to put the PLO out of rocket range of Israel's northern border. This began Operation Peace for Galilee, which lasted for six months (although Israeli presence in Lebanon continued until 2000).