July 5, 2012
Yitzhak Shamir, z”l, 96, fighter, leader, true Zionist
Called a tiger, a rock and a giant, by admirers as well as adversaries, Yitzhak Shamir, the seventh prime minister of Israel, was at the forefront of much of recent Jewish and Israeli history and garnered respect for his honesty, stability, and beliefs.
He died this past Shabbat at the age of 96.
Shamir was Prime Minister of Israel from 1983 to 1984 and from 1986 through 1992, and Foreign from 1980 to 1986.
“He was a great man,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President, Emeritus, National Council of Young Israel. “He was an integral part of the modern State of Israel. He fought for the freedom of Israel throughout his life…part of the underground, the IDF, a leader in the government. He was a visionary, but pragmatic and realistic. He will be remembered as a true Jewish leader.”
“Of all the prime ministers of Israel, Yizhak Shamir was the most principled,” said Rabbi Hershel Billet, Rav of the Young Israel of Woodmere. “He never bowed to external pressure. He was prescient when he said, even before the Oslo accords, that the Israelis do not have a “partner” in the Palestinians. Decades of Israeli leaders including members of Mr. Shamir’s own Likud party, including PM Ariel Sharon and the current PM Binyamin Netanyahu, continued to treat the Palestinians as partners. We paid a heavy price in Jewish blood because Shamir’s views were rejected.”
“Shamir was a Jew and a Zionist,” said Naftali Bennett, formerly Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff and co-founder of the movement MyIsrael. “He never wavered, never folded under pressure. He wasn’t religious, but he had a profound belief in the eternity of Am Yisrael and in protection of the land of Israel.”