Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday eulogized former prime
minister Yitzhak Shamir at his funeral at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl on
Monday, saying that he knew no compromise when it came to serving Israel
and the Jewish people. Shamir passed away at the age of 96 on Saturday in Tel Aviv.
praised Shamir for his days as a commander of the underground Jewish
group, the Lehi, during the period of mandatory Palestine.
even later in his political life, in his heart and in his modest
behavior, continued to see himself as the same anonymous soldier serving
the country. He did not look for popularity or respect. Every decision
of his stood up to one test: Is it good for the Jewish people and
Israel," Netanyahu stated.
The prime minister praised Shamir for
his "great contribution" to bringing millions of Jews from the former
Soviet Union and Ethiopia to Israel.
Netanyahu also spoke of his
personal connection to Shamir, saying that he would "call me when I was
ambassador to the UN and ask to find out what was happening there."
In what appeared to be a reference to a coalition crisis
brewing over haredi enlistment, Netanyahu added that Shamir understood
the importance of national unity. "Shamir understood that unity is an
important source for national strength."
Netanyahu also eluded to
the Iranian threat, saying that Shamir had told the US during the Gulf
War that if Washington did not act against Iraq, whose leader saddam
Hussein was directing Scud missiles at Israel, Jerusalem would take
matters into its own hands.
President Shimon Peres spoke at the funeral, calling Shamir "a man that was sure of himself and firm in his opinions."
Peres stated that Shamir's ideology in the present was given legitimacy by the past of the Jewish people.
praised Shamir for showing restraint during the Gulf War and opening up
in a dialogue with the Palestinians at the Madrid peace conference.