Rivlin eulogizes Shamir as coffin arrives at Knesset

Former PM's only weakness was his love for Israel and family; Yitzhak Shamir will be laid to rest alongside wife at Mount Herzl after passing away in TA at age 96; Peres, Netanyahu to eulogize the late prime minister at funeral.

July 2, 2012 10:54
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)


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Funeral proceedings for former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir began at the Knesset Monday morning with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin eulogizing him before his coffin.

"You had only one weakness," Rivlin said. "Only one weakness succeeded in breaking through: Your love for this pursued nation, the land of our forefathers, your love for your children,your home, and your Shulamit."

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Shamir will buried on Monday evening alongside his wife, Shulamit, in the section reserved for leaders of Israel on Mount Herzl.

He died in Tel Aviv on Saturday at age 96.

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and representatives of Shamir’s family will eulogize the former prime minister at the funeral.

Sunday’s cabinet meeting began with a moment of silence for Shamir. Netanyahu used the occasion to defend some of Shamir’s more controversial statements.

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 diplomatic messages.

“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.

Deputy Prime 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.

“After 1948, 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.

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