47 Facts About Yitzhak Shamir


Yitzhak Shamir served as the sixth Speaker of the Knesset, and as foreign affairs minister.


Yitzhak Shamir was the country's third-longest-serving prime minister, after Benjamin Netanyahu and David Ben-Gurion.


Yitzhak Shamir studied law at the University of Warsaw, but cut his studies short in order to emigrate to what was then Mandatory Palestine.


Yitzhak Shamir claimed his father was killed just outside his birthplace in Ruzhany by villagers who had been his childhood friends after he had escaped from a German train transporting Jews to the death camps, though this was never confirmed.


Yitzhak Shamir once told Ehud Olmert that when his father, living under Nazi occupation, had been informed that the extermination of the Jews was imminent, his father had replied that "I have a son in the Land of Israel, and he will exact my revenge on them".


In 1935, Yitzhak Shamir immigrated to Palestine, where he worked in an accountant's office.


Yitzhak Shamir later adopted as his surname the name he used on a forged underground identity card, Shamir.


Yitzhak Shamir told his wife this was because Shamir means a thorn that stabs and a rock that can cut steel.


Yitzhak Shamir joined the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Zionist paramilitary group that opposed British control of Palestine.


Yitzhak Shamir became the leader of the Stern Gang, and, together with Giladi, Anshell Shpillman and Yehoshua Cohen, reorganized the movement into cells and trained its members.


Yitzhak Shamir sought to emulate the anti-British struggle of the Irish Republicans and took the nickname "Michael" after Irish Republican leader Michael Collins.


Yitzhak Shamir plotted the 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne, British Minister for Middle East Affairs, and personally selected Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri to carry it out.


Yitzhak Shamir ran a unit that placed agents in hostile countries, created the Mossad's division for planning and served on its General Staff.


Yitzhak Shamir resigned from the Mossad in protest over the treatment of Mossad Director-General Isser Harel, who had been compelled to resign after Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered an end to Operation Damocles.


In 1969, Yitzhak Shamir joined the Herut party headed by Menachem Begin and was first elected to the Knesset in 1973 as a member of the Likud.


Yitzhak Shamir became Speaker of the Knesset in 1977, and Foreign Minister in 1980 which he remained until 1986, concurrently serving as prime minister from October 1983 to September 1984 after Begin's resignation.


Yitzhak Shamir abstained in the Knesset votes to approve the Camp David Accords and the Peace Treaty with Egypt.


Yitzhak Shamir won reelection as party leader in the 1984 Herut leadership election, defeating a challenge from Ariel Sharon.


However, Yitzhak Shamir remained reluctant to change the status quo in Israel's relations with its Arab neighbours and blocked Peres's initiative to promote a regional peace conference as agreed in 1987 with King Hussein of Jordan in what has become known as the London Agreement.


Yitzhak Shamir urged the US government to stop granting refugee visas to Soviet Jews, persuading it that they were not refugees because they already had a homeland in Israel and were only moving to the United States for economic reasons.


Yitzhak Shamir termed the emigration of Soviet Jews to the United States rather than to Israel "defection", and called the issuing of US refugee visas to Soviet Jews when Israel was already willing to take them in "an insult to Israel".


Over one million Soviet immigrants would subsequently arrive in Israel, many of whom would have likely gone to the United States had Yitzhak Shamir not pressed the US government to change its policy.


Yitzhak Shamir deployed Israeli Air Force jets to patrol the northern airspace with Iraq.


However, after the United States and the Netherlands deployed Patriot antimissile batteries to protect Israel, and US and British special forces began hunting for Scuds, Yitzhak Shamir responded to American calls for restraint, recalled the jets, and agreed not to retaliate.


In May 1991, as the Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam was collapsing, Yitzhak Shamir ordered the airlifting of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews, known as Operation Solomon.


Yitzhak Shamir continued his efforts, begun in the late 1960s, to bring Soviet Jewish refugees to Israel.


Yitzhak Shamir restored diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Israel in October 1991, and following its dissolution, established relations between Israel and his native Belarus in May 1992.


Finally, Yitzhak Shamir gave in and in October 1991 participated in the Madrid talks.


Yitzhak Shamir stepped down from the Likud leadership in March 1993 but remained a member of the Knesset until the 1996 election.


For some time, Yitzhak Shamir was a critic of his Likud successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, as being too indecisive in dealing with the Arabs.


Yitzhak Shamir went so far as to resign from the Likud in 1998 and endorse Herut, a right-wing splinter movement led by Benny Begin, which later joined the National Union during the 1999 election.


Subsequently, in his late eighties, Yitzhak Shamir ceased making public comments.


In 2004, Yitzhak Shamir's health declined, with the progression of his Alzheimer's disease, and he was moved to a nursing home.


Yitzhak Shamir died on the morning of June 30,2012, at a nursing home in Tel Aviv where he had spent the last few years as a result of the Alzheimer's disease he had suffered since the mid-1990s.


Yitzhak Shamir was a great patriot and his enormous contribution will be forever etched in our chronicles.


Yitzhak Shamir was loyal to his beliefs and he served his country with the utmost dedication for decades.


Yitzhak Shamir was part of a marvelous generation which created the state of Israel and struggled for the Jewish people.


Yitzhak Shamir set an example in each position that he held.


Yitzhak Shamir's devotion knew no bounds [and he] always sought what's right for the people of Israel and for the country's security.


Leader of the Opposition and Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich offered her condolences to Yitzhak Shamir's family saying that.


Yitzhak Shamir followed his ideological path honestly and humbly, as a leader should.


Yitzhak Shamir showed restraint and saved Israel from undue entanglement in the Iraq War.


Yitzhak Shamir's political doing has undoubtedly left its mark on the State of Israel.


In 2001, Yitzhak Shamir received the Israel Prize, for his lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.


Yitzhak Shamir wrote Sikumo shel davar, a book which was published in English by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, as Summing Up: An autobiography.


Yitzhak Shamir was a member of the Knesset from after his 1973 election until 1996.


Yitzhak Shamir became leader of Herut and Likud in 1983, leading Likud until 1993.