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September 23, 1983 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-23

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Friday, September 23, 1E3 3

Shamir: Portrait of the Man Who Will Now Lead State of Israel


(Continued from Page 1)
By personality and by ex-
perience, Shamir is not a
publicity seeker. As his
aides explain, Shamir's ap-
proach has been to go over
the details, read all the ca-
tiles, and do everything to


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establish solid working re-
lationships • with other
foreign statesmen. The
same is also true of U.S.
Secretary of State George
Shultz. And the common
chemistry in the per-
sonalities of the two men
probably helped create a
solid basis of mutual under-
standing between them.
Shamir has also won the re-
spect of other statesmen, in-
cluding Italian Foreign
Minister Colombo. And his
period as a senior officer in
Israel's Mossad (secret serv-
ice) has no doubt added to
the "quiet side" of his per-
Shamir was born in
eastern Poland in 1915,
where he joined the Betar
youth movement. He
began studying 'law in
Warsaw but discontin-
ued his studies upon-
emigrating to Palestine
in 1935, where he
enrolled as a student at
the Hebrew University of
In 1937, he joined the
Irgun Zvei Leumi, only to
break away from it to join
the Lohamei Herut Israel or
"Stern Group," where he
occupied leading positions
and lived in constant
danger. Arrested by the
British authorities in 1941
and 1946, he twice escaped.
After the second escape,
from Eritrea, he reached the
French colony of Djibouti by
way of Ethiopia, and was
given political asylum in
France, returning to Israel
in May 1948 upon the estab-
lishment of the Jewish
From 1955 to 1965
Shamir was a senior opera-
tive in Israel's Mossad.
After he left in 1965 he went
into business, managing
various enterprises, includ-
ing an Israeli-French com-
mercial company. During
this time he was also active
on behalf of Soviet Jewry.
In 1970, Shamir joined
the Herut movement, and in
1973 won a Herut seat in
the Knesset. In 1-975 and
1977 he was elected chair-
man of the movement's
executive committee. In the
Ninth Knesset, in 1977, he
was elected Speaker of the
Knesset. He has long been
considered one of the possi-
ble successors to Begin.
Fluent in French, adequate
in English, Shamir is short,
usually smiling and always
Shamir's relations with
Begin have always been
reported as close. Simi-
larly, inside the Foreign
Ministry, relationships
are cordial and re-
spectful between the
minister and his officials,
many of whom began
their Foreign Service
careers during the Labor
years. Indeed, according
to David Landau, dip-
lomatic correspondent of
the Jerusalem Post and
Jewish Telegraphic
Agency, morale in the
ministry has improved
during Shamir's tenure.
This is partly due to
Shamir's close interest in
each stage of major cam-

paigns involving Israel,
in contrast to someone
like Dayan, who pre-
ferred to be informed
only of the broad lines of
The high morale is also
(hie to Shamir respecting
the advice of his senior offi-
cials. Among this circle are
David Kimche, who, apart
from being the ministry's
director-general, is an ac-
knowledged expert on
Lebanon. It was he who
signed the peace accord
with Lebanon on behalf of
the Israeli government.
How will history see
Foreign Minister. Shamir?
"Given the many challenges
to Israel from Arabs and
others in the international
environment it is too
simplistic to measure his
performance according to
diplomatic achievements.
The overall future has also
to be taken into account,"
commented Yosef Ben-
Aharon, chief of the minis-
try's bureau and an ac-
knowledged Arabist.
Shamir has a clear per-
ception of Israel's national
interest and in this context
has carefully weighed the
areas in which compromise
can be made without affect-
ing these interests.
To Shamir, Israel's
Middle East policy
should be based on the
twin concepts of peace
and security. "Where
there is strength, there is
peace. Peace will be un-
attainable if _Israel is
weak or perceived to be
so," Shamir has argued.
The Likud may be con-
trasted with the previous
Labor governments in
that the Likud has em-
phasized the security end
of the peace-security
- Shamir voted against the
Camp David agreement
when it was brought before
the Knesset because he
thought that too much terri-
tory had been given back
and this made Israel ter-
ritorially vulnerable. To
ensure Israel does not find
itself in the position it was
before June 5, 1967, Israel
now requires a margin of se-
As foreign minister,
Shamir accepted Camp
David. He is basically op-
timistic that peaceful rela-
tions between Egypt and Is-
rael will continue since, he
argues, it is in Egypt's
interest to maintain peace.
He notes however that al-
though there is no war the
positive sides of the
Egyptian-Israel agreement
including economic rela-
tions have not been im-
plemented. The Lebanese
war further divided the two
Shamir rejects the cliche
that it is natural for Egypt
to regain her place in the
Arab world at the expense of
the "unnaturalness" of rela-
tions with Israel.
Shamir's outlook can-
not be grasped however
without understanding
the primary regard given
to the historical and reli-
gious links between the


Palestine. "The state today
known as the Kingdom of
Jordan is an integral part of
what was once known as
Palestine; its inhabitants
therefore are Palestinian —
not different in their lan-
guage, culture or religious
and demographic composi-
tion from other Palesti-
nians," he wrote last year in
the influential journal
Foreign Affairs.
Shamir, like his pre-
decessors, has noted that so
much of the Arab-Israeli
conflict compriseF a war of
semantics. "The reintroduc-
tion of the term Talesti-

land and the people. The
relationship is indivisible
and influences his atti-
tude to other issues.
Thus, Israeli rejection of a
Palestinian state in the ad-
ministered territories of
Judea and Samaria is not
only an issue of the security
challenge which such a
state would pose but also
one concerning the indis-
soluble links between these
biblical regions and Jewish
The solution of the
"Palestinian problem" is in
Jordan which, Shamir
points out, was born out of

nian' and its exclusive apt:
plication to Arabs of the
`West Bank' is therefore a
semantic exercise."





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