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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yitzhak Shamir’

Yitzchak Shamir

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Yitzchak Shamir, born October 22, 1915, died June 30 2012.

Shamir was Prime Minister of Israel from 1983 to 1984 and again from 1986 to 1992. He was a leader of the pre-State Lehi (Stern Gang) group. He also served in the Mossad fom 1955 to 1965.

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Yitzhak Shamir – underground leader, spymaster, parliamentarian and the seventh Prime Minister of the State of Israel – was born Yizhak Yzernitzky in Ruzinoy, Poland in 1915. He attended Bialystok Hebrew secondary school and at age 14 joined the Betar youth movement. In 1935 he left Warsaw, where he was studying law, moved to Palestine and enrolled at the Hebrew University.

In 1937, opposing the mainstream Zionist policy of restraint vis-à-vis the British Mandatory administration, Shamir joined the Irgun Tzeva’i Le’umi (Etzel) – the Revisionist underground organization – and in 1940 became a member of the small, but more militant, faction led by Avraham Stern, the Lehi (Lohamei Herut Israel – Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), that broke away from the larger body. There, as part of the leadership troika, he coordinated organizational and operational activities.

Twice arrested by the British – during and after World War II – Shamir escaped both times, the second time in 1947 from the British prison camp in Eritrea to neighboring French Djibouti. Granted political asylum in France, he returned to Palestine in 1948 and resumed command of the Lehi until it was disbanded following the establishment of the State of Israel.

After several years during which he managed commercial enterprises, Shamir joined Israel’s security services in the mid-1950s and held senior positions in the Mossad. He returned to private commercial activity in the mid-1960s and became involved in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry. In 1970 he joined Menachem Begin’s opposition Herut party and became a member of its Executive. In 1973 he was elected a Member of Knesset for the Likud party – a position he held for the next 23 years. During his first decade as a parliamentarian, Shamir was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and, in 1977, became Speaker of the Knesset. In this capacity he presided over the historic appearance of Egyptian President Sadat in the Knesset and the debate over ratifying the Camp David Accords two years later. He abstained in the vote on the Accords, primarily because of the requirement to dismantle settlements.

Yitzhak Shamir served as Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1980 and 1983. Among his achievements were closer ties with Washington – reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding on strategic cooperation with the United States and the agreement in principle on free trade between the two nations. Shamir also initiated diplomatic contacts with many African countries which had severed diplomatic ties during the 1973 oil crisis. After the 1982 “Operation Peace for Galilee,” Yitzhak Shamir directed negotiations with Lebanon which led to the 1983 peace agreement (which was, however, never ratified by the Lebanese government).

Following the resignation of Menachem Begin in October 1983, Yitzhak Shamir became Prime Minister until the general elections in the fall of 1984. During this year, Shamir concentrated on economic matters – the economy was suffering from hyper-inflation – while also nurturing closer strategic ties with the United States.

Indecisive results in the 1984 general elections led to the formation of a National Unity Government based on a rotation agreement between Shamir and Labor leader Shimon Peres. Shamir served as Vice-Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs for two years, while Shimon Peres was Prime Minister. Subsequently, Shamir served for six years as Prime Minister – from 1986 to 1992 – first heading a National Unity Government, and then as head of a narrow coalition government.

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Meet Yair Shamir, the Man who Could Replace Avigdor Liberman

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Yair Shamir says he doesn’t discuss hypotheticals.

For the Israeli Air Force commander turned technocrat turned politician, these topics include how to respond to settlement evacuations or achieve Palestinian statehood, a fracture in the U.S.-Israel relationship or Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman’s departure from politics.

Shamir, the 67-year-old scion of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, is Yisrael Beiteinu’s No. 2. With Liberman, the former foreign minister, under indictment for fraud and breach of trust, he is the de facto heir apparent to one of Israel’s largest political parties.

Assuming that mantle would be quite a shift for Shamir, who entered politics only last year. He served 25 years as a pilot and officer in the IAF before moving on to private business. Until 2011 he served as chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s leading aircraft manufacturer. Before that he was an executive at El Al Israel Airlines, a large telecommunications firm, a venture capital fund and a computer equipment company.

Entering politics was a “nationalist decision,” Shamir told JTA, a choice “to give my coming years to strengthen Israel on the national level and not on the private level.”

Last year he was appointed deputy to Liberman in Yisrael Beiteinu, a party that originally focused on Russian immigrant concerns but since has attracted Israelis with nationalist views from other backgrounds. Shamir tries to avoid talking about the party without Liberman.

“The press is trying to create a rivalry between us,” Shamir said. “I’m almost convinced that he’ll come out innocent. A public figure who is found guilty in court shouldn’t be a public figure, but everyone needs to follow his own conscience.”

That attitude fits into Shamir’s overall political philosophy. He professes deep respect for pluralism and democracy while also opposing a Palestinian state – a position that puts him at odds with Liberman. Liberman has called for redrawing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank to include more Jews and exclude as many Arabs as possible.

Shamir follows in the ideological footsteps of his father, who served as prime minister from 1986 to 1992 and died last July. As leader of the Likud party, the elder Shamir opposed any compromise with the Palestinians – even after the outbreak of the first Intifada – and strongly supported West Bank settlement expansion.

“I see him as my lighthouse,” Shamir said of his father. “A lighthouse isn’t the nicest building. It’s a simple building but it stands on a cliff and always shines its light, in bad and good weather. It’s not shaken by a storm or a calm sea.”

Like his father, Shamir wants Israel to hang tough in the constantly unstable Middle East. His top priority as a politician, he says, will be to contribute his business experience to government by strengthening the country’s infrastructure and economy.

“The only way to maintain the land and the people is to be strong economically and militarily,” he said. “When you look at who Israeli politicians are, there isn’t enough representation of industry and agriculture, the people that are really doing anything.”

When it comes to opposing a Palestinian state or settlement evacuations, Shamir says the State of Israel deserves the entire Land of Israel and sees no reason to be conciliatory as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains intractable. That’s why he treats a scenario of settlement evacuations and Palestinian statehood as a hypothetical.

“Right now there’s no hocus-pocus solution,” Shamir said. “The Arabs there who call themselves Palestinian, they’ll stay or go, but we’ll definitely stay. We need to keep building in the land.”

Shamir seems like a throwback to the Likud of his father’s time – a party committed to Greater Israel. And while he isn’t traditionally observant, Shamir calls himself a “believing Jew.” He supports the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and keeps a copy of the Tanya, its principal philosophical tract, on his desk, along with a Bible.

Yisrael Beiteinu has merged lists with Likud for the upcoming elections, but Shamir says the present-day Likud has lost sight of what’s important to Israel’s growth: immigration and settlement. As a party founded by Russian immigrants, Yisrael Beiteinu was attractive to Shamir, he said. He runs an organization called G’vahim that specializes in helping academics immigrate to Israel.

JTA

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.

Malkah Fleisher

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.

Editorial Board

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

Moshe Herman

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.

Danny Danon

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
David Ha'ivri

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/yitzhak-shamir-a-freedom-fighter-for-israel/2012/07/02/

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