Peres, Netanyahu to Honor Deceased PM Shamir

July 9, 2013  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other public figures will be at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Tuesday to honor former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir.

Shamir passed away one year ago at the age of 96.

Shamir was born in what is now Belarus. He joined the Betar Zionist youth group as a teenager, and later left his law studies in Warsaw to come to Israel, then British Mandatory Palestine, and study at Hebrew University.

He opposed the policy favored by the Zionist leadership of the time of restraint in the face of British occupation, and joined the Etzel underground (also know as the Irgun) revolutionary group and later the Lehi, both of which were active in attacking British infrastructure and attempting to force the British out.

He was arrested by the British twice, but escaped both times.

After the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Shamir spent several years as a businessman, before becoming a top-ranking commander in the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. During his years in the Mossad he reportedly headed an operation to assassinate German scientists who were helping Egypt – which was then at war with Israel – to develop its missile program.

In the 1970s he entered the world of politics with the Herut party. He was later elected to Knesset under the Likud, and served in a variety of increasingly senior positions, ultimately serving as Prime Minister twice, once in 1983 after Menachem Begin’s resignation, and again from 1986 to 1992.

His years as Prime Minister saw the beginning of a massive wave of aliyah (immigration) as the struggle for Soviet Jewish emigration finally succeeded and, a short time later, Israel began mass aliyah flights from Ethiopia.

His son Yair Shamir is currently serving as a Member of Knesset with the Likud party.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders shared tributes to Shamir last year following his death. Netanyahu later unveiled a new stamp in Shamir’s memory.

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