Shamir, Yitzhak yētz´äk shämēr´ [key], 1915–2012, Zionist activist and Israeli politician, b. Poland. Emigrating (1935) to Palestine, he was twice arrested by the British for participating in a militant Jewish organization; in 1946 he fled to France. Returning (1948) to Israel, he served (1955–65) in Israel's secret service, the Mossad. He helped to found (1973) the conservative Likud party, becoming its leader and prime minister upon the retirement of Menachem Begin in 1983. In office, he promoted continued Jewish settlement of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 1984 and 1988, Likud and Labor formed a government of national unity in which Shamir served as foreign minister (1984–86) and prime minister (1986–90). From 1990 to 1992 Shamir was prime minister of a Likud-led right-wing government.
See his autobiography (1994); H. Misgav, Conversations with Yitzhak Shamir (1997, tr. 2000).
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