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PM: Shamir always remained a soldier serving Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF
02/07/2012
Prime minister, Peres eulogize former PM Shamir at Mt. Herzl; Netanyahu: Shamir understood importance of national unity.
 
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.

Netanyahu praised Shamir for his days as a commander of the underground Jewish group, the Lehi, during the period of mandatory Palestine.

"Shamir, 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.

Peres praised Shamir for showing restraint during the Gulf War and opening up in a dialogue with the Palestinians at the Madrid peace conference.
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