web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yitzhak Shamir’

Son of PM Yitzhak Shamir Enters Politics

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Yair Shamir, son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (Likud), will be entering the political arena under the banner of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

His political debut will put him just under Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, at the party’s number 2 slot.

Shamir made the announcement on Friday, saying he believes his father would have considered joining the party due to their similar values of “freedom of the individual, wholeness of the nation and the land, and aliyah”.

Shamir, 67, is the former chairman of El Al airlines and Israel Aerospace Industries, as well as a former pilot and IAF Colonel.  He is now chair of the Shalem Center and Gvahim job-placement company for new olim, as well as a partner in Catalyst Investments.

Remembering Yitzhak Shamir

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

The Jewish Press joins Jews around the world in mourning the death, at age 96, of Yitzhak Shamir, a key leader in Israel’s fight for independence who later served as a top Mossad official, speaker of the Knesset, foreign minister and prime minister.

In the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Yitzhak Shamir belonged to the generation of giants that established the state of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people in its land…. As prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir took action to fortify Israel’s security and ensure its future.”

Shamir spent many years in leadership positions in the Jewish underground, fighting to drive the British out of Palestine. He was instrumental in the success of many pivotal operations against British forces as well as Arab armies and militias bent on eradicating the Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael.

Shamir was said to have come by his “whatever it takes” dedication to a Jewish homeland from the loss of much of his family in the Holocaust, with his father having been killed by Poles whom the family had considered their friends.

As prime minister, Shamir was unstinting in his promotion of Jewish settlement building and was a vocal proponent of what has been referred to as “Greater Israel” – a modern state of Israel that includes most of biblical Israel. Shamir also championed the influx of Soviet Jews to Israel and evacuated more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews overnight to Israel in an airlift dubbed Operation Solomon.

Though he was capable of strategic pragmatism, his overall unyielding approach to dealing with the Palestinians led to some epic confrontations with the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, over Middle East policy.

The world today is a lot more complicated than the one in which Yitzhak Shamir lived and thrived in his underground and government service years. But we should never forget his example of courage, commitment and selflessness – qualities not in apparent abundance these days.

Remembering An Anonymous Soldier

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

To commemorate the passing of Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Alternative Peace Activist Yehuda HaKohen joins Yishai. They discuss the roots that Shamir rose from and how he dedicated his life to ensuring that Jews were represented and remained in the Land of Israel. Do not miss this moving tribute to an iconic Jewish and Israeli leader.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Danny Danon: Remembering Shamir – The Integrity of ‘No’

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The people of Israel lost a true leader with the passing of Yitzhak Shamir. Before assuming the reins as our seventh prime minister, Shamir dutifully served his people and his country first as head of the underground Lehi, then in the Mossad where he was responsible for tracking down and eliminating some of our worst enemies including Nazi war criminals who had fled to Egypt, and finally in the political arena where he served as a Member and then Speaker of Knesset, Foreign Minister and finally Prime Minister after the resignation of his mentor Menachem Begin.

Upon the death of a loved one, we often take the time to look through the memory book of their life and search for the lessons that their legacy can teach us. In the case of Yitzhak Shamir, a multi-volume set of thick bound tomes might be more appropriate a metaphor. These books are filled with the earth of the whole land of Israel, and immersed in values and an understanding of our unique place in history. His spirit and his values are an inspiration to all of those who love this land, and especially to the members of his beloved Likud movement that strive to stay true to Shamir’s teachings.

You do not negotiate on your core ideology. This is what guided Shamir in his steadfast defense of the rights of the Jewish people to their historic homeland. In the years that he guided Israel’s foreign policy, he would not compromise on this basic tenet. In 1992, under intense pressure from the American administration, Shamir stood fast and made clear to the world that money cannot buy and replace values. He bravely rejected the US demand that he stop building in Judea and Samaria in return for loan guarantees. This money was very much needed to absorb our brothers who were then coming home from the former Soviet Union, but Shamir knew such an act on his behalf would create a slippery slope that would set a terrible precedent for the future leaders of Israel. Such a move on his behalf would have endangered his beloved settlement enterprise which he knew was invaluable for the future well-being of the State.

Shamir’s decisions and policies were not always popular or politically correct. There was no end of criticism both in Israel and form the international community. In fact, there were times when his refusal to abandon his core values probably cost him at the ballot box, such as when he lost to Yitzhak Rabin in the 1992 elections. Nevertheless, over time, his steadfastness disproved today’s assumption that you must be guided daily by opinion polls to obtain power, and then govern. Without ever abandoning his beliefs, Shamir was able to not only reach the highest office in the land, but he also ended up serving in office longer than any other prime minister since David Ben Gurion. Moreover, because of his intellectual honesty and core decency, since leaving office Shamir is admired by all Israelis – whatever their political persuasion – for the great leader that he was.

To better convey Shamir’s unique foresight and leadership capabilities, I must share a short story. In the early 1990s, while serving as a Betar emissary in the United States, I invited one of my childhood heroes to visit my host community. Yitzhak graciously agreed to come and speak at an event I had organized promoting Israel and aliyah. When he was asked for his opinion about the demographic threat that is so often raised, Shamir answered with full confidence that we must remain steadfast and work tirelessly to bring millions of Soviet Jews home to Israel. At that time, such a prediction seemed completely unrealistic and even a tad naïve. Nevertheless, Shamir’s analysis proved with time to be completely accurate and proved how important it is for a leader to remain true to his values. By believing and planning, one million Russians ultimately came to live in Israel, changing our core demographic reality forever.

That night, after he had finished addressing the group, I had the honor of spending an evening with the former Prime Minister. I was enthralled with his stories and life lessons, especially with his core conviction that a leader must truly believe in and be ready to defend his policies. If a leader does so, he told me, there is no need to worry about the criticism that will inevitably follow any brave decision.

Yitzhak Shamir: A Freedom Fighter for Israel

Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Yitzhak Shamir, like the biblical hero Joseph, made the long and miraculous journey from the depths of prison to the throne – the position of the executive chief, protector and provider for the nation of Israel.
Son of Jewish community leaders in (what is today) Belarus, Shamir, then named Icchak Jaziernicki, came to Israel as part of Jabotinsky’s Betar movement and joined the ranks of its affiliate underground Etzel (AKA the Irgun) under the leadership of the legendary David Raziel.
In 1941, Shamir made one of the many difficult decisions of his life. This was during height of the public debate regarding fighting the occupying British Mandate forces during WWII, while the British were taking part in the Allied struggle against the Nazis in Europe. The mainstream position held by Ben Gurion’s faction was that the fight to free the land of Israel from British rule would have to wait until the war with the Nazis was over. Raziel and Jabotinsky, after debating the issue, aligned themselves with the mainstream. The nationalist poet and visionary Yair -Avraham Stern saw the British imperialist occupiers as no less an enemy than the Nazis, and declared that he would continue to fight them until they pulled out of the holy land.
Shamir at first kept his loyalty to the party line of Betar leadership. But as he watched the British turning away ships full of Jewish refugees and sending them back to Nazi Europe or sending them to British-run concentration camps on the island of Cyprus, he realized that the British authority was not better for the Jews and that the land must be liberated from them.
He joined Yair’s small faction of the Irgun while it still called itself the “Irgun Tzvi Leumi in the Land of Israel” (the main faction under Raziel was called Irgun Tzvi Leumi). In the wake of a major British crackdown on the tiny underground, Shamir was arrested and sent to prison in Mazranear Akko, where he would meet his future wife Shulamit, who was arrested for illegally immigrating without a British permit. Shortly afterward, Stern was assassinated by the British secret police. Shamir broke out of prison and assumed leadership for the Lehi – “Freedom Fighters for Israel,” together with two others – Natan Yalin Mor and Yisrael Eldad.
Under his leadership, the organization grew and carried out major operations, which led to the British unilaterally pulling out of the land of Israel and foiling the UN plan for internationalization of Jerusalem. These efforts included the assassination of the British Minister of State Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944 and that of UN emissary Count Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem in 1948.
After the assassination of Lord Moyne in 1944, Shamir was arrested by the British and sent to a prison camp in Eritrea, Africa. Together with others, he escaped from the camp and succeeded in returning to the front of the war on the British in the land of Israel.
After the establishment of the State of Israel, Shamir was enlisted in Israel’s Mossad international intelligence organization. It is worth noting that in Israel’s early years, it was very rare for people not affiliated with Ben Gurion’s party to advance in public office.
In the early 1970′s, some thirty years after the great split in the movement, Shamir led the reunion by joining Begin’s political party, Herut. 1977 brought the beginning of a changeover in Israel’s political scene. That year, Shamir was appointed Chairman of the Knesset; in 1979 he became Foreign Minister, and in 1983 he became Prime Minister.
Another major challenge Shamir faced was the intense American pressure to reach a deal with the Palestinians. Shamir, a realist and advocate for the land of Israel, understood that these talks under pressure would not be in the best interest of Israel. He maintained the traditional Israeli stance against dealing with the PLO. At Madrid, Shamir sought to give nothing more than autonomy and official responsibility to the local Arab leadership in Judea and Samaria. Ultimately, these efforts were exploited and redirected by Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin, who used this as cover to engage illicitly with the terrorist organization and enable it to control the cities of Judea and Samaria from the beaches of Tunis.
The only rest for a freedom fighter for Israel comes with his last breath. In honor of this leader and lover of Israel, I post words written many years ago by his mentor and mine – Yair-Avraham Stern:
Unknown soldiers…
Unknown soldiers, without uniforms are we,
And fear and darkness surround us.
For all of our life drafted are we;
From line only death redeems us.
In red days of riots and blood,
In the black nights of despair,
In cities, in towns, our flag is high over the flood,
And upon it: defend and conquer!
We weren’t drafted by a whip like a group of slaves,
Our blood to shed in exile on sand.
Our wish: to be free men forever, not knaves!
Our dream: to die for our land!
And from every which way, thousands of obstacles hail
On our path is placed a cruel fate;
But enemies, spies and jail
Cannot make us hesitate.
And if in the streets, in the houses we’ll fall
And we’ll be buried secretly at night,
In our stead, thousands of others will call
To conquer forever and fight.
In the tears of mothers of sons bereaved,
And in the blood of pure babies of late,
As in cement bodies to bricks will be cleaved
And the building of our homeland we’ll create!
Written by ‘Yair,’ Pesach 1932,
Translated by Shifra Shomron

Yitzhak Shamir, 96

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir passed away on Saturday night at age 96.

Yitzhak Shamir (Jeziernicky) was born in Rozhinoy, Belarus, October 15, 1915. He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Beitar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement. He studied at the law faculty of Warsaw University, but left to make aliyah in 1935. In 1944 he married Shulamit Shamir (1923–2011). They had two children, Yair and Gilada.

Shamir joined the Irgun, a Zionist militant group that opposed British control of Eretz Israel. When the Irgun split in 1940, Shamir joined the more militant Lechi faction, known as the Stern Gang.

In 1941 Shamir was imprisoned by the British. After Avraham Stern was killed by the British in 1942, Shamir escaped from a detention camp and became one of the three leaders of the group in 1943. In 1944, he was exiled and interned in Africa by British Mandatory authorities. He was freed, along with the other detainees, after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.

In 1955, Shamir joined the Mossad, serving until 1965. He directed the assassinations of former Nazi rocket scientists working on the Egyptian missile program.

In 1969, Shamir joined the Herut party headed by Menachem Begin and was elected to the Knesset in 1973 as a member of the Likud. He became Speaker of the Knesset in 1977, and foreign minister in 1980, before succeeding Begin as prime minister in 1983.

Shamir served several terms as prime minister throughout the 1980s. He maintained a hard political line, which strained his relations with the U.S. Shamir opposed the Madrid peace talks, and then President George H.W. Bush retaliated by holding back approval for loan guarantees to help absorb immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Shamir gave in and in October 1991 participated in the Madrid talks. After the talks, his government collapsed and in 1992 he was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin.

 

What Bibi Can Learn From My Father

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Anyone who thinks Prime Minister Netanyahu, in order to improve relations with the U.S., should succumb to American pressure in return for a U.S. incentives package and extend the freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is either mistaken or misguided.

It is no secret that there were sharp disagreements in the early 1990s between then-President George H.W. Bush and my father, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. But my father succeeded in deflecting pressure from the White House thanks to his principle-driven positions and his astute approach in dealing with the U.S. Congress.

Thus, irrespective of President Bush’s objections, my father received $650 million in special assistance, $700 million worth of military systems, a considerable expansion of American ammunition pre-positioned in Israel, enhancement of Israel-U.S. counter-terrorism cooperation, upgrading the Haifa port for the use of the 6th Fleet (which yielded $1 million in daily revenues) and breakthrough access by Israel’s defense industries to Pentagon repair, maintenance and refurbishing bids – all in addition to annual foreign aid.

Nothing better illustrates my father’s success than Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s words in his dedication to the book Yitzhak Shamir: Firm as A Rock:

During President George Bush’s term in office, while I was serving as the IDF’s Chief-of-Staff, I was once summoned to the Prime Minister’s Office to meet with then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker who had been demanding that Israel make far-reaching concessions. Upon the request of Shamir, I briefed our prominent guest with the range of military threats facing Israel. Baker did not retract his demands. Instead, carrying the weight of the only superpower leading the free world today, he insisted that Israel concede. Shamir’s face became very tense and alert, it looked like a volcano about to explode. He banged on the table and told the secretary of state in a very blunt and undiplomatic manner, in a very sharp but self-controlled tone: “Mr. Secretary, you can demand what you choose to demand but this is our country and we will not agree to do anything that will harm its interests and future even if demanded by our best friend.”

My father’s refusal to budge from his principles may not have led to a round of applause and praise in the media, but it elicited respect for the man and improved Israel’s national security. His stance should serve as an example to Israeli prime ministers that it is possible to stand up to American pressure and refuse to relinquish both vision and strategic goals. In fact, such a surrender would only serve to erode Israel’s power of deterrence in the Middle East and its standing in the corridors of power in Washington.

Genuine leaders realize that saying “no” and withstanding pressure advance strategic goals – while retreat and submission undermine those goals and only increase international pressure.

Fending off pressure sometimes requires an alteration of tactics – but not the abandonment of strategic goals.

Defiance of American dictates may harm a prime minister’s personal popularity in the short run, but in the long run it will transform Israel into a stronger strategic ally of the U.S.

There are those who say we cannot compare the state of the world during the 1980s to the state of the world in 2010, and that an Israeli prime minister today faces tougher pressure.

True, the world has changed – but in Israel’s favor. Israel has undergone dramatic upgrades in the military, economic, demographic, technological and medical fields. Moreover, the Free World is much more aware of the threat of Islamic terrorism and Iran’s nuclear power and therefore comprehends better the security predicaments of the Jewish state.

Most important, the U.S. Congress has been a bastion of support of enhanced U.S.-Israel relations, displaying a more hawkish approach than even the Knesset when it comes to Israel’s national security and especially on the issue of Jerusalem. The Congress is equal in power to and independent of the president. The president executes but Congress initiates, legislates, authorizes – and possesses the Power of the Purse.

Washington’s respect for my father was eloquently expressed by then-Senate Majority and Minority Leaders George Mitchell and Bob Dole. At the end of a 1989 visit by my father to Washington, they told him: “You know why we respect you despite our disagreements with your policies? Because you’re tough!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-bibi-can-learn-from-my-father/2010/10/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: