Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Open map of IsraelFlag of IsraelIsrael / Politics /
Yitzhak Shamir
Hebrew: yitshak shamir

Yitzhak Shamir
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Yitzhak Shamir.

(1915- ) Israeli politician and prime minister (1983- 84, 1986- 92).
Shamir is the most conservative prime minister Israel has seen, and challenges even Ariel Sharon. He opposed the peace initiatives of both the Camp David Accords, even if his own party supported this. He pretended to be willing to negotiate for peace with the Arab states in the early 1990's, but he admitted later on that all he wanted was to drag the talks out for years.
But at the same time, he is the man who was in charge of the successful normalization process with Egypt in the early 1980's, and he was able to resume diplomatic ties with many African countries.
Shamir has a background as a terrorist in the 1940's, a Mossad agent in the 1950's and 60's. As a prime minister he has been active in promoting the construction and enlargement of the Jewish-only settlements in occupied territory (Palestine and Syria), declared illegal by the United Nations.

1915 October 15: Born in Ruzinoy, Poland (now Belarus), into a religious family, with the given name Yitzhak Yzernitsky.
1935: Moves to Palestine, where he starts studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
1937: Joins the underground movement Irgun Tzvai Leumi.
1940: Irgun Tzvai Leumi splits, and Shamir joins the faction of Lechi formed by Avraham Stern.
1941: Shamir is arrested by the British authorities, but manages to escape.
1942: Stern is assassinated, and Shamir becomes one of 3 commanders of Lechi.
1944: Lechi kills Lord Moyne, the British resident minister in Palestine.
1946: Shamir is arrested by the British, and sent to a detention camp in Eritrea.
1947: Shamir escapes from the camp, and seeks refuge in France where he is granted asylum.
1948 May: The state of Israel is formed, and Shamir returns from France.
1955: Joins Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service. For long periods he is operating in Europe.
1965: Leaves Mossad, and starts running a mattress factory.
1969: Shamir joins the Herut Party of Menachim Begin.
1973: Is elected to the Knesset.
1975 March: Shamir is elected chairman of the party executive of Herut.
1977: Becomes Speaker of the Knesset.
1978: Shamir opposes the Camp David Accords, even if it was negotiated by Menachim Begin.
1980 March: Is appointed foreign minister by Begin.
1983 September: Becomes new leader of the Likud party, following Begin.
October: Takes over after Begin as prime minister. He still continues to be foreign minister. This was a difficult time to take over power, as the situation in Lebanon was still unresolved (see Lebanese Civil War) and the Israeli economy was in a bad state.
1984 July: Elections for the Knesset, which Shamir loses, and he has to resign as prime minister.
September: Shamir forms a coalition government with the Labour Party and Shimon Peres. Peres would be prime minister for the first half of the 50 month period, then Shamir would take over. Shamir first operates as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. During this period, he is central in establishing important deals with USA, involving strategic military cooperation and free trade between the countries.
1986 October: As agreed Shamir becomes prime minister.
1987: The Intifada in Palestinian territories, and Shamir strikes down on this with a head hand, leaving many people dead.
1988: A new coalition government with the Labour Party is formed, with Shamir as prime minister.
1990: Shamir's government falls, but Shamir forms a new coalition government together with right-wing parties, but this time without the Labour Party.
1991: Participates at the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid, but it didn't lead to any results, as Shamir (as he later told) just tried to drag out the talks. What really destroyed the climate of these talks, was Shamir's insistence of continuing to build Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian territory.
1992: Likud loses the general elections, and Shamir resigns as prime minister.
1993: Shamir steps down as leader of Likud, and is succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Tore Kjeilen