Yitzhak Shamir

Soldier / Prime Minister of Israel

Born: 1915
Died: 2012 (Alzheimer's Disease)
Birthplace: Ruzinoy, Poland (now Belarus)
Best known as:

Prime Minister of Israel, 1983-1984 and 1986-1992

Name at birth: Yizhak Yzernitzky


Yitzhak Shamir was the seventh prime minister of Israel and a major figure in the years after the country's founding in 1948. Yitzhak Shamir moved to Palestine in 1935 and joined Zionist forces in fighting the British. He was arrested and jailed twice by the British, but escaped both times. After the establishment of the state of Israel, Shamir went to work for national security and during the 1950s held top-level posts in the spy service Mossad. He was elected to the Knesset in 1973, eventually leading the Likud Party and taking over as prime minister after the resignation of Menachem Begin in 1983. After the 1984 elections, Shamir shared power with Shimon Peres of the Labor Party, serving as prime minister until 1992. He retired from the Knesset in 1996 and was given the Israel Prize, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2001.

Extra credit:

His birthplace is also spelled "Ruzhany" by some.

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