Former Israeli Prime MInister Yitzhak Shamir Dies
TEL AVIV (TheStreet) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir died Saturday. He was 96.
The man who led Israeli in 1983 and 1984 and again from 1986 through 1992 died in a nursing home in the town of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, the Associated Press reported, citing Israeli media. Shamir had suffered from Alzheimer's for years.
The former Likud party leader was known as hard-liner. He voiced distrust of Israel's Arab neighbors and bristled at surrendering land to them in peace negotiations.
Shamir subscribed to the Revisionist ideology that Israel has sole ownership the biblical Holy Land, which comprises Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, the AP noted.
Politicians of different stripes voiced praise for Shamir.
"Yitzhak Shamir was a brave warrior before and after the founding of the State of Israel," said Israeli President Shimon Peres of the center-left Kadima party, according to the AP. "He was loyal to his views, a great patriot and a true lover of Israel who served his country with integrity and unending commitment. May his memory be blessed."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the current leader of center-right Likud, said Shamir "led Israel with a deep loyalty to the nation and to the land and to the eternal values of the Jewish people."
Shamir was born Icchak Jeziernicky in Poland in 1915. In 1935 he settled in Palestine, which was then administered by the British, and joined the militant Zionist opposition to British control of the territory. He became one of the leaders of Lehi, the most hard-line of the opposition groups. He was captured twice, but escaped from detention both times.
After Israel's independence in 1948, Shamir went into business. In 1955 he joined the Mossad spy agency and stayed there for a decade.
In 1969, Shamir joined the right-wing Herut party, which evolved into the Likud party, and was first elected to Israel's Knesset in 1973.
Shamir's wife Shulamit, whom he married in 1944, died July 29, 2011.