Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ex Israeli premier Yitzhak Shamir dies at 96

Yitzhak Shamir, the hawkish Israeli leader who two decades ago first balked at U.S. calls to trade occupied land for Middle East peace, died on Saturday after a long illness. He was 96.

The second longest-serving prime minister after Israel's founder, David Ben-Gurion, Shamir clung to the status quo. Admirers saw strength and resolve in his position, while critics called him an intransigent naysayer who allowed Arabs to cast Israel as obstructing reconciliation.

Born in Poland with the surname Yezernitzky, Shamir moved to British-ruled Palestine before the Holocaust, in which his family died. Steely and secretive, he ran missions against British and Arab targets for the hardline Jewish underground group Irgun, taking his Hebrew name from an alias used to evade police dragnets.

Read more: Daily Star


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