Politicians hold moment of silence for Shamir 370.
(photo credit: Abir Sultan/Reuters)
Former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir will buried on Monday evening alongside his
wife, Shulamit, in the section reserved for leaders of Israel on Mount
He died in Tel Aviv on Saturday at age 96.
Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and
representatives of Shamir’s family will eulogize the former prime minister at
the funeral. Earlier, his coffin will be brought to the Knesset, where the
public will be invited to pay its respects from 10 a.m. to 4
Sunday’s cabinet meeting began with a moment of silence for Shamir.
Netanyahu used the occasion to defend some of Shamir’s more controversial
Shamir’s statement in 1989 that “the Arabs are the same Arabs
and the sea is the same sea,” regarding the never-ending Arab desire to destroy
Israel, invoked strong criticism, even contempt at the time, Netanyahu told the
Today, however, “there are certainly many more people who
understand that this man saw and understood fundamental truths.”
The late prime minister, Netanyahu
continued, never compromised himself or the truth according to popular
sentiment, and “therefore, I think that it is proper that we honor him in
meetings, at tomorrow’s ceremony, and at special meetings to be held
Netanyahu convened the Likud faction at the Prime Minister’s
Office on Sunday to enable the party’s ministers and MKs to share their personal
memories of Shamir. Netanyahu recalled at that meeting that Shamir sent him on
personal missions when he was ambassador to the UN to deliver important
“What defined Shamir more than anything else was his
unconditional loyalty to Israel and its security,” Netanyahu said. “Yitzhak was
consistent and restrained and he knew how to choose realistic stances that fit
each and every situation.”
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom mocked critics of
Shamir who said he did not accomplish anything. Shalom said the peace
conference Shamir initiated in Madrid in 1991 led to Israel establishing
relations with many countries and to several major international companies,
including McDonald’s, starting to do business in Israel.
Minister Dan Meridor, who is the only current minister who served in Shamir’s
cabinet, focused on the Russian immigrants who came under Shamir’s watch. He
recalled Shamir telling the Americans to stop allowing Russian Jews to come to
the US under the category of people who lack a homeland.
there are no Jews who lack a homeland,” Meridor said Shamir told the US State
Department. “Who know how many Jews would not have come to Israel if Shamir was
not so stubborn with the Americans.”
MK Tzipi Hotovely said that when a
pollster told Shamir that “the public is not satisfied,” he replied: “Stop. We
need to do what we need to do.”
She said this proved that Shamir was a
man of vision who withstood pressure and succeeded to lead in the way he thought
was right even when the public disagreed.