In 1977, not long after Menachem Begin formed the first Likud-led government, there was worry among some advisers and American-Jewish leaders that his “shtetl Jew” appearance would harm Israel.

Unlike the dapper Labor leaders of the past, such as Yitzhak Rabin, or the short-sleeved “pioneers” of the 1950s, Begin wore a rumpled black suit and decidedly accountant-looking glasses. Some fashion big shots were sent to his modest home and “suggested he make some changes.”

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