Thousands mourn Shamir at Knesset

MK Danon proposes heritage center for former prime minister.

July 2, 2012 12:16
2 minute read.
Late PM Yitzhak Shamir's coffin at the Knesset

Late prime minsiter Yitzhak Shamir's coffin at Knesset 150. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Israelis of all ages, backgrounds and political opinions came to the Knesset on Monday to pay their last respects to former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who died Monday after a long illness.

Ethiopian representatives came in large numbers to thank Shamir for approving Operation Solomon, a covert exercise that brought 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991 when he was prime minister. Ethiopian kessim (religious leaders) came to the Knesset in colorful garb and conducted a ceremony near Shamir’s coffin.

“Yitzhak Shamir was the man who got me out of jail in Ethiopia,” said Haim Ben-Israel. “Were it not for Shamir, I would have never gone free.”

Many former ministers and MKs came to the Knesset, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Shamir’s foreign minister David Levy and former Knesset speaker Shevah Weiss.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin opened the proceedings by praising Shamir.

“You had only one weakness,” Rivlin said. “Your love for this nation, the land of our forefathers, your love for your children, your home and your [wife] Shulamit.”

On the sidelines of the event, Olmert told reporters that Shamir saw himself as an emissary of his father who told him before he was murdered in Eastern Europe to return the Jewish people to their land.

“He wasn’t a politician or a hack,” Olmert said. “He didn’t deal with petty politics. He was a statesman. There were times he was mistaken but he was straight as a ruler.”

Former minister Rafi Eitan, who like Shamir served in the Mossad, said he tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to accept the London Agreement that Shimon Peres reached behind Shamir’s back when Peres was his foreign minister. The agreement would have resolved the Palestinian issue through Jordanian sovereignty over the West Bank.

“Every time I saw him I told him how much a mistake he made,” Eitan said.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) announced plans on Monday to propose a bill seeking government funding for a Yitzhak Shamir Heritage Center.

“We must preserve the legacy that Shamir lived and breathed,” Danon said. “The new center will be a lighthouse of values for all those who love the land on Israel.”

The Likud MK plans to submit the bill this week, which would create a center telling Shamir’s life story and promoting values that were important to him, such as the complete Land of Israel and encouraging aliya.

Similar heritage centers exist in memory of former prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN