Yitzhak Shamir – in his own words

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.


In the 63 years since its Independence, Israel has had 12 different Prime Ministers. Four of them, including the present incumbent, served 2 terms. History will judge success or failure according to their actions. But there is another way in which they will be remembered. Their words of wit or wisdom.  Were they so memorable as to be ingrained forever in the minds of men?  (Just an expression – women included, of course).

To view selected quotations from all 12 Prime Ministers click on this link:


Here is one example to whet your appetite.

Yitzhak Shamir (1983-1984 and 1986-1992)

When is a decision not a decision? (Photo: larousse.fr)

Shamir (in the middle) wanted by the British in his younger days (photo:wiki)


In the period leading to Independence, he worked with Menachem Begin in the Irgun. They subsequently disagreed on policy and Shamir joined the Lehi, usually known as the Stern Group, (named after its leader Avraham Stern.)

In his time as a member of the Knesset, he held the positions of Speaker of the House and Foreign Minister before becoming Prime Minister. He was a great believer in the concept of not taking a decision is a decision.  He thought that the Arabs were their own worst enemy, and that if he did nothing,  the internecine rivalry of the Arab factions would benefit Israel. Nothing changes – see the first quotation!

He took the decision in the First Gulf War not to retaliate when Iraq fired Scud missiles into Israel.


” The Arabs are the same Arabs, the sea is the same sea.”

“All the land of Israel is ours.”

“Israel’s capital will never again be a divided city ….(it) will be the eternal capital of Israel for ever.”

“Israel has a very bad history with the United Nations, and whoever cares for himself in Israel distances himself from that Organisation.”

‘I believe that the will of the people is resolved by strong leadership. Even in a democratic society, events depend on strong leadership with a strong power of persuasion, and not on the opinion of the masses.”

‘We must never bend too much.”

“Our image has undergone change from fighting Goliath to being Goliath.”

” Should there be maniacs who raise the idea, they will encounter an iron fist which will leave no trace of such attempts.” (1)

” (The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers…..heads smashed against boulders and walls.” (2)


(1) Quoted in the Times of London in 1988 referring to Palestinian self rule.

(2) Strongly disputed that he ever said this. It was reported in the New York Times in 1988, but seems to have been taken out of context and distorted. (http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2011/05/06/3087593/andrew-sullivan-owes-yitzhak-shamir-an-apology)




Still want to see more? Click on the  link below:



One comment on “Yitzhak Shamir – in his own words

  1. I am Israeli currently linivg in Europe.My work requires often travelling and I visitied practically all European countries.All these stories about Israel being a war zone and some nation fiercely resisting are nothing but a pile of crap.Even those who live in Sderot are now,after the Cast Lead,linivg quite a normal life.And those who live in the central part,like Tel Aviv,Ramat Gan,Bnei Brak ,Petah Tikva and so on,learn about the devastating war which is raging in Israel only from the Western newspapers.In general,the situation in Israel is much safer than,for example,in France or Great Britain,very similar to the situation in Spain(except the Pais Basco,where itb4s pretty worse) and is inferior to the situation with safety in Germany(its Western part,because in its Eastern part the situation is very different).The statistics of crime in Israel is ,again,at the level of Spain,and the statistics of heavy crimes in Israel is pretty much lower than in the majority of the European countries.

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