Former Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir dies

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The Independent Online

Yitzhak Shamir, the former Israeli prime minister who clung throughout his life to the belief that Israel should hang on to territory and never trust an Arab regime, has died in Tel Aviv. He was 96.

Shamir served two terms as prime minister, from 1983-84 and from 1986-92.

Born Yitzhak Jazernicki in Poland in 1915, he moved to pre-state Palestine in 1935. He joined Lehi, the most hardline of three Jewish movements resisting British mandatory authorities, taking over the Lehi leadership after the British killed its founder. Captured twice, he escaped from two British detention camps and returned to resistance action.

After Israel was founded in 1948, Shamir went into business before joining the Mossad spy agency.

His time in power was marked by the massive airlift of thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, the Palestinian uprising and the 1991 Gulf war, when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel.