Shulamit Shamir, wife of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, was laid to rest Sunday, after passing away over the weekend. Born in 1923, she was 88 when she passed away. One of the people who was closest to both Shamirs was Herzl Makov, former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir's chief of staff.
Speaking to Arutz 7, Makov described the relationship between Shulamit and Yitzchak as “heavenly. I worked with them daily when they were both in their 70s,” Makov said. “They acted – and felt – like newlyweds.”
The future Prime Minister met his mate at an internment camp and then she joined the underground Lechi (Fighters for Israel's Freedom), while Yitzchak was commander of the organization. Shulamit arrived from Bulgaria, where she had been active in the Zionist Beitar movement, on an illegal ship, evading the British ban on Jewish immigrants to Palestine.
Shulamit, whose name was actually Sarita, decided to use the Hebrew name she became known by to her fellow fighters after the establishment of the state. In the Lechi, says Makov, her job was to handle communications for Yitzchak, “She brought him news and information about activities in the field, meeting places and times with Lechi members, and the like,” Makov says. “They got to know each other, and their relationship grew from there.” Yitzchak and Shulamit married in 1944.
Yitzchak Shamir joined the Likud in 1969 (he worked for the Mossad for ten years before that), becoming an MK in 1973, and going on to become Foreign Minister in 1980 and Prime Minister in 1983, taking the post after Menachem Begin retired. He again served as Prime Minister between 1986 and 1992.
According to Makov, Shulamit did not get involved in political issues, leaving those matters to the man for whom the people voted. But, she did take a great interest in social issues.
She agreed with her husband on most political matters, Makov says, but held her peace and did not get involved in his work – except once. “She called me over and showed me his schedule, which was actually quite full, and said 'Herzl, you know you are dealing with a 77 year old Jew. Maybe you could go a little easier on him?” That incident occurred during the 1992 Prime Ministerial elections, Makov adds, when he was Shamir's chief of staff.
The two had a long and fulfilling life together – and they were very happy, says Makov. “When they were young and had first met, Yitzchak was exiled to Africa by the British for a time. From there he wrote her love letters, letters that you would not believe were written by a no-nonsense man like Yitzchak if you read them. In their later years, they would walk hand in hand, and when either of them went abroad you could see how they missed each other. It was truly a love of which one could be jealous,” Makov said.
Shulamit is survived by her 95 year old husband, the former prime minister, who is now hospitalized in a nursing home in central Israel, two children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.