Yitzhak Shamir (October 22, 1915 – June 30, 2012) was an Israeli politician and the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms, 1983–84 and 1986–1992. Before the establishment of the State of Israel, Shamir was a leader of the Zionist paramilitary group Lehi. After the establishment of the State of Israel he served in the Mossad between 1955 and 1965, a Knesset Member, a Knesset Speaker and a Foreign Affairs Minister. Shamir was the country's third longest-serving prime minister after David Ben-Gurion and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yitzhak Yezernitsky (later Yitzhak Shamir) was born in the predominantly Jewish village of Ruzhany, Grodno province, Russian Empire (now Belarus), which after World War I became part of Poland, as the son of Perla and Shlomo, owner of a leather factory. Those close to Shamir have noted that, "he often recalls his childhood and youth in Belarus." Shamir later moved to historical Poland and studied at a Hebrew high school network in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement. He studied law at the University of Warsaw, but cut his studies short to immigrate to what was then Mandatory Palestine. Shamir once stated that "every Pole sucked anti-Semitism with his mother's milk." The comment caused controversy within Poland as being slanderous and libelous. To conclude from the 1941 pogroms that the Holocaust was the common work of Poles and Germans is a libel, commented on historian. All who feel themselves to be Polish have the responsibility to defend themselves against such slander. The majority of Polish society might be charged with having an attitude of indifference to the extermination of the Jews — if not for the fact that the entire civilized world reacted to the fact of genocide with indifference and passivity. The difference is that Poles were eyewitnesses, defenseless witnesses living in constant fear for their lives and the lives of their families...
Quotes by Yitzhak Shamir
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