Yitzhak Shamir was correct when he spoke about Arabs wanting to drive Jews into the sea, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intimated Sunday, eulogizing his predecessor who died Saturday.
Shamir, a hard-liner known for opposing any territorial concessions, was Israel’s seventh prime minister in the 1980s and 90s. He was 96.
After holding a minute’s silence in Shamir’s memory in the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu addressed the former prime minister’s famous statement that “the Arabs are the same Arabs and the sea is the same sea,” meaning that the ultimate, unchanging goal of Israel’s neighbors was to drive the Jews into the water.
“An increasing number of people today are arriving at the realization that the man had access to fundamental truths and did not let the trends of the day sway him away from those,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also described Shamir as “devoid of pretenses and mannerisms, a true, simple, honest man of incredible internal strength.”
Shamir’s body is to lay in state at the Knesset on Monday before his burial on Mount Herzl.