SHAMIR, Yithzak

(Formerly Yzernitzky) Israeli politician born in Poland in 1915. Emigrated to Palestine in 1935. He studied law. Member of the Irgun as of 1937, joined the Stern gang (or Lehi) when the latter split from the Irgun in 1940 and became its leader in 1942 following the disappearance of Avraham Stern founder of the group. Arrested by the British in 1941 and again in 1947 for terrorist activities; he managed to escape each time. From 1948 to 1955, he entered into business and later held an administrative position in the Mossad for several years.

He became a member of the Herut in 1970 and became chairman of its Executive Committee in 1975. Joined the Knesset in 1974, became Speaker in 1977. Appointed Foreign Minister in 1980, and became Prime Minister in 1983 at the same time, following Menahem BEGIN’s resignation. Following the 1984 elections, he formed a coalition government with Shimon PERES and became its Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, to later become Prime Minister in accordance with the government rotation agreement between the Labour Party. Following the 1989 elections, he became the Prime Minister of the most right wing government Israel has had to date. In 1993, following endless internal quarrels, he gives up his seat to a newcomer, Benyamin Netanyahu, who was to become Prime minister in 1996.