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Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Disappointing Yitzchak Shamir

Sorry, but I can't write something good about Yitzchak Shamir, who passed away Saturday night.  You'll find lots of praise here and here and here.

We had great expectations when Yitzchak Shamir took over as Prime Minister in 1983 after Menachem Begin had resigned.  Menachem Begin had shocked and horrified us by giving away the Sinai to Egypt and destroying the Jewish towns and communities there.  Since Menachem Begin was from Etzel, which was more "moderate" than Shamir's Lechi we had great hopes that we'd finally have a true Jewish leader strong enough to defend Jewish/Israeli rights in all situations.
Captured and jailed by the British authorities in 1941, he escaped the following year and became a leader of the Lehi — the renamed Stern Gang.
During the War of Independence, Shamir was one of those who approved the assassination of the United Nations representative in the Middle East, Count Bernadotte — one of the actions that led the mainstream nascent Israeli leadership to enforce the dismantling of the Lehi and the establishment of a single Israeli military force.
Shamir was recruited into the Mossad intelligence service in the mid-1950s, where he oversaw the killings of several former Nazi scientists who were working on an Egyptian rocket program. (Times of Israel)
But when push came to shove, and the Arab terrorists shot up a bus of Shiloh residents, murdering my friend and neighbor Rachella Druk and the driver Yitzchak Rofeh, on the way to a demonstration to encourage Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir to be strong at the Madrid Conference he didn't get the message.

Grief-stricken but not broken we expected Shamir to immediately return to Israel with the entire delegation stating to the world:

אין עם מי לדבר
Ain im mi lidabber.
There is nobody to negotiate with.
You can't negotiate with terrorists.  That's the truth.  Shamir's Lechi wasn't a terrorist group; it was an underground organization that didn't attack innocent men, women and children.  It took military action against those who attacked and endangered Jews in the Land of Israel.  There's a very strong difference between the two.  I had expected Yitzchak Shamir to remember the difference.  Unfortunately, tragically, he failed, and I still mourn that failure.

The State of Israel and the Jewish People world over are still waiting a leader who will lead us and not look for approval from the world.

I've been studying the Bible in Matan's Al HaPerek course for two years and last week we learned:

Isaiah Chapter 31 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ
א הוֹי הַיֹּרְדִים מִצְרַיִם לְעֶזְרָה, עַל-סוּסִים יִשָּׁעֵנוּ; וַיִּבְטְחוּ עַל-רֶכֶב כִּי רָב, וְעַל פָּרָשִׁים כִּי-עָצְמוּ מְאֹד--וְלֹא שָׁעוּ עַל-קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאֶת-יְהוָה לֹא דָרָשׁוּ. 1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many, and in horsemen, because they are exceeding mighty; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
ב וְגַם-הוּא חָכָם וַיָּבֵא רָע, וְאֶת-דְּבָרָיו לֹא הֵסִיר; וְקָם עַל-בֵּית מְרֵעִים, וְעַל-עֶזְרַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן. 2 Yet He also is wise, and bringeth evil, and doth not call back His words; but will arise against the house of the evil-doers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
ג וּמִצְרַיִם אָדָם וְלֹא-אֵל, וְסוּסֵיהֶם בָּשָׂר וְלֹא-רוּחַ; וַיהוָה יַטֶּה יָדוֹ, וְכָשַׁל עוֹזֵר וְנָפַל עָזֻר--וְיַחְדָּו, כֻּלָּם יִכְלָיוּן. {ס} 3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit; so when the LORD shall stretch out His hand, both he that helpeth shall stumble, and he that is helped shall fall, and they all shall perish together. {S}
ד כִּי כֹה אָמַר-יְהוָה אֵלַי כַּאֲשֶׁר יֶהְגֶּה הָאַרְיֵה וְהַכְּפִיר עַל-טַרְפּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר יִקָּרֵא עָלָיו מְלֹא רֹעִים, מִקּוֹלָם לֹא יֵחָת, וּמֵהֲמוֹנָם לֹא יַעֲנֶה; כֵּן, יֵרֵד יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, לִצְבֹּא עַל-הַר-צִיּוֹן, וְעַל-גִּבְעָתָהּ. 4 For thus saith the LORD unto me: Like as the lion, or the young lion, growling over his prey, though a multitude of shepherds be called forth against him, will not be dismayed at their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them; so will the LORD of hosts come down to fight upon mount Zion, and upon the hill thereof.
For true peace we must go to G-d, not Madrid or the United States, United Nations etc.  G-d willing we will have a leader who understands.

Shavua Tov, Have a Wonderful Week


NormanF said...

Some day Israel will be blessed with a leader who understands there is no one with whom to negotiate.

The Arabs - no G-d - sent a pointed message to Netanyahu and Mofaz. They won't listen!

Nevertheless what is clear is no matter how much Israel's leaders rebel against G-d, they will not find any rest or peace.

Israel will have those things when they begin to trust Him. That is all Jews need to do and until then their own stiff-necked refusal to submit to Heaven will bring disasters and woe upon them.

And it was Shamir who helped to pave the way to Oslo, that cost thousands of Jewish lives! Hasn't Israel suffered enough?

From Shamir's life, Israel must learn that even the strongest of people can be worn down by time and outside pressure. The only One Jews must unceasingly trust is G-d. Let us not go down to Egypt again - no good will come of it!

Batya said...

Norman, I thought everyone would slam me for criticizing Shamir. It's good to know that you agree with me and even see his policies as leading to worse ones, like Oslo. thanks

Hadassa said...

There's a difference between attacking a dead man and pointing out the problems with his policies.

Batya said...

Thanks, I tried to be careful. It's a Peter's Principle. Many/most people fail at the top tragically when it affects others.

NormanF said...

He did one remarkable thing: he brought the Jews of Ethiopia home to Israel. In Operation Solomon.

Shamir personally greeted the arrivals at the airport. I don't know of many Prime Ministers who greet immigrants but this is entirely to his lasting merit.

It reminded me why Israel exists. The PM lost his family to treacherous Poles and that weighed on him all his life.

If saving Jewish lives outweighs every thing else, then let Heaven show mercy!

I really thought that was the best thing he ever did as a Jew and as a human being.

Batya said...

Most PM's would have had met the Ethiopian immigrants, certainly Begin. I never wrote that everything Shamir did was bad, just the one thing that touched me personally and was very important for the nation.

NormanF said...

I agree.

Mistakes were made. The real question is whether the country will learn from them.

Then maybe Shamir's legacy will be to show the nation the way out of the darkness it finds itself in.

Batya said...

Norman, have you seen my point any place else? My blog isn't reaching enough people.