Former Knesset speaker Dov Shilansky laid to rest

PM Netanyahu eulogizes at funeral of the holocaust survivor "who did everything to remember and remind, so that we would not forget."

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
December 10, 2010 12:52
3 minute read.
Dov Shilansky

dov shilansky 311. (photo credit: Knesset)

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of former Knesset speaker and Holocaust-survivor advocate Dov Shilansky at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv Friday morning.

Shilansky passed away Thursday at the age of 86. Shilansky served for 19 years as a Likud member. He is survived by his son.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Former Knesset speaker Shilansky passes away at 86

The funeral was attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former and current Knesset members and ministers.

Netanyahu eulogized at the funeral, saying, "Dov believed that he was a remnant of the Jewish world which was destroyed. He did everything to remember and remind, so that we would not forget. Every man has a name, Dov, and you came with a good a name and left with a good name. Being goodhearted was the main theme during his entire life. You represent the community of Holocaust survivors, the heroes of hell who came and built Israel."

Netanyahu continued, "Dov saw himself as the carrier of the voices of the dead and their grief from the ash piles in Europe. He was the symbol of the generation of revival. The immense horror he experienced in his youth aroused in him the love of Israel and of humankind. As Knesset speaker, he was the symbol of decency and was appreciated in the eyes of all, yet did not hide his whole faith as a pupil of Jabotinsky."

"He was never an arrogant person despite all the positions that he served," said Netanyahu. "In the story of Dov Shilansky's life, revival, heroism and the great terror he experienced were intertwined in his heart with the love for the country and man."

Shilansky was born in Siauliai, Lithuania, in March 1924, and survived the Holocaust as a young man, a story that he recorded years later in his book Darkness at Daylight. A fervent Revisionist Zionist, he joined the IZL (Irgun) and operated in both post-war Italy and Germany before immigrating to Israel aboard the Altalena, the IZL-sponsored ship that was shelled by the nascent IDF.

Undeterred, Shilansky served as a combat officer during the 1948 War of Independence.

Four years later, in 1952, Shilansky was arrested while attempting to bring an explosive device into the Foreign Ministry. Shilansky was accused of smuggling in the suitcase bomb to disrupt the negotiations between Israel and Germany over German monetary reparations for the Holocaust. Allegedly a member of an unnamed underground organization, Shilansky was sentenced to two years in prison.

While working for years as a prominent attorney and a member of the ethics committee of the Israel Bar Association and the International Organization of Jewish Law Professionals, Shilansky never lost sight of his ideology.

In 1977 he was elected to the Knesset during the “Revolution,” when Shilansky’s former IZL commander Menachem Begin led his Likud Party to election victory for the first time in Israel’s history. Once again serving under Begin, Shilansky was appointed to serve as the Knesset representative on the Committee for the Appointment of Judges. After his reelection to the Knesset in 1981, he was made deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Shilansky was appointed Knesset speaker in 1988, a position that he held until the 1992 elections. In 1993 he was a candidate for president, but was defeated by fellow former IZL member Ezer Weizman.

Although Shilansky lost his seat in the 1996 elections, he was often included in the ceremonial 120th slot in the Likud’s election lists in ensuing Knesset races.

A year after assuming the Knesset’s top post, Shilansky initiated the “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony, in which MKs take the podium on Holocaust Memorial Day to read the 6 million names of Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

Shilansky explained that he believed that the number 6 million was otherwise incomprehensible, and that the victims of the Nazis must be personally remembered. Shilansky’s initiative quickly caught on, becoming a prominent Holocaust memorial tradition in communities worldwide.

LIAT COLLINS contributed to this report.


Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD

Israel Weather
  • 10 - 21
    Beer Sheva
    11 - 20
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 9 - 16
    Jerusalem
    10 - 18
    Haifa
  • 15 - 25
    Elat
    12 - 22
    Tiberias