On Saturday, June 30 2012, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, had died. In order to immortalize this great man, I will give you a brief overview of his fascinating life story.
Yitzhak Shamir was born on October 15, 1915 in the town of Ruzhany (which was Russian territory back then). His father was the head of the Jewish community in the town, which had a Jewish majority.
In 1934 he began studying law at the University of Warsaw, but he didn’t finish law school because he had immigrated to Israel in 1935. In 1937 Shamir joined the Etzel movement and stopped studying in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In 1955 he was recruited by the Mossad and received a high position there. In 1965 he retired and managed the “Magam” rubber factory in Kfar Saba for several years.
In 1977 Shamir was elected Speaker of the Knesset, and was the first Likud (Israeli political party) member in this position. Shamir served as the speaker in several important meetings and events, such as a speech by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the Knesset on November 1977, and the vote about the Camp David accords on September 1978.
On March 10, 1980 Shamir was appointed Foreign Minister and left the Speaker of the Knesset position. On August 28, 1983, during a cabinet meeting, Menachem Begin suddenly announced that he could no longer continue in his position as Prime Minister. On October 10, 1983 Shamir became the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, a position which he held for three terms (with the exception of the two years in which Shimon Peres was PM).
During his third term as PM, a great wave of immigrants from the Soviet Union arrived in Israel, which did its best to provide housing and employment to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Shamir served as Prime Minister for almost seven years – more time than any other Israeli PM, except for David Ben – Gurion. In 2001 Shamir won the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements.
In my opinion, Shamir is a true example of implementing Zionism. Shamir had left his entire life in Europe to come to Israel and fight for his goals. In the beginning he served as a soldier in the Etzel movement and later on he started his political career in order to contribute to his country and to the people that he loved so much.
Shamir’s funeral (video from gazadvd2000 on youtube.com)