Eulogies for the late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir began arriving from overseas on Sunday, lauding a stern leader with a clear vision for the country and a deep commitment to the well-being of its citizens.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said the 96-year-old Likud politician who died the day before served his country with “courage and great distinction.”

“He will be remembered as a great patriot who woke up everyday asking: ‘What more can I do today to defend and help the State Of Israel and the Jewish people?’” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the NGO.

Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-California) said Shamir was “a man whose life of accomplishment was woven into the fabric of modern day Israel.”

In his statement, Berman chose to highlight the compromises that the staunchly right-wing Israeli – who in 1978 abstained from the Knesset vote on the peace treaty with Egypt – had made during his second tenure (1986-1992) as prime minister.

“[He was a] leader who was a fierce Zionist, uncompromising in his defense of the land of Israel, yet willing to take great risks by leading Israel in Madrid during peace negotiations with Arab nations and peoples who were his sworn enemies,” he added.

White House spokesman Jay Carney released a statement on behalf of the Obama administration on Sunday noting the passing of the former prime minister.

“From his days working for Israel’s independence to his service as prime minister, he strengthened Israel’s security and advanced the partnership between the United States and Israel,” he wrote in the statement.

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