Former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir passed away at the age of 96 on Saturday at the care home in which he resided in Tel Aviv.Shamir served as Israel’s seventh prime minister from 1983 to 1984 and again from 1986 to 1992.
Shamir, who was born in 1915 in Ruzhany, served in Israel’s Shin Bet, and later on as Speaker of the Knesset as part of the Likud and Israel’s Foreign Minister before succeeding Menachem Begin as Prime Minister in 1983.
In response to the death, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Shamir “led Israel with a deep loyalty to the nation, to the land and to the eternal values of the Jewish people.”
Shamir fought in radical pre-state undergrounds to oust the British from Palestine, served in the Mossad, was a Knesset member and Knesset Speaker, held several ministerial positions and ultimately served as prime minister.
He oversaw a major immigration of Jews from Ethiopia, reluctantly attended the Madrid peace conference, and memorably kept Israel out of the first Gulf War even after it was attacked by more than three dozen Scud missiles fired by Saddam Hussein.
Opposition Leader Shelly Yachimovich offered her condolences over Shamir’s death: “He was a determined prime minister who dedicated his life to the state. He followed his ideological path honestly and humbly, as a leader should,” she said.
“The citizens of Israel will always remember the wisdom he demonstrated during the First Gulf War. He showed restraint and saved Israel from undue entanglement in the Iraq War. This decision proved to be a brave and wise act of leadership.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Shamir “Contributed greatly to the foundation of the state, which he served his entire life with loyalty and unwavering dedication.