Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was buried in Jerusalem state cemetery Mount Hertzl on Monday evening after he passed away on Saturday, aged 96.
His funeral followed an open cask memorial at the Knesset, where members of the public applied for access to the national parliament to pay their respects to the Jewish State’s seventh prime minister.
Eulogising him at the state burial ceremony, which drew hundreds of attendees, from state and military leaders to international dignitaries, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to his "deep feeling," hailing him as a "man of action.".
“Israel and the Jewish people always stood at the head of his interests," he added. Shamir was buried in a dedicated section of the cemetery for Israeli political leaders.
Politically apposite President Shimon Peres acknowledged his ideological differences with the late leader, insisting that in spite of those "the two of us were convinced that we both were working as Israelis devoted to their country and who love their land," invoking the period of six years during which the two men served in the same unity government.
Netanyahu, too seemed to draw parallels between Shamir’s record of working across party political lines and the current reported divisions between the Premier’s Likud party and their coalition partners Kadima, when he stressed the deceased’s commitment to national unity. "Shamir understood that unity is an important source for national strength," he said.
"His ideology grew out of the history of our nation. He believed our past is what granted legitimacy to the present," Peres said.
In a short memorial at the Knesset earlier on Monday, Parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin described the popular statesman, who has also served in his own political role, an "unbreakable rock of stability."
Shamir served twice as Prime Minsiter, from 1983 to 1984 and from 1986 to 1992, also reluctantly taking Israel into its first-ever talks with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians at the October 1991 Madrid international peace conference.
Netanyahu paid tribute to his days as a commander of the underground Jewish group, the Lehi, during the Palestinian mandate, at which time he said the Jewish state should stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, when he said "he did not look for popularity or respect. Every decision of his stood up to one test; Is it good for the Jewish people and Israel."
Unlike legendary eaders Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, who as Prime Ministers withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza Strip, respectively, Shamir never saw territorial pullout as a way to resolve the Middle East conflict.
He never shied away from making incendiary statements he believed in, declared during the first intifada in 1987, that the difference between the Israel and Palestinians sides was that "our aim was to establish a Jewish state where there was no state, not to destroy an existing state. The main aim of the Palestinians is to destroy the state of Israel.”
After the creation of Israel, Shamir continued his clandestine activities in the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, notably serving at the agency's European headquarters in Paris.
Shamir gave up spying in 1965 and entered politics five years later to become speaker of the Knesset after his right-wing Likud party won general elections in 1977.
He was one of the few deputies to abstain during the 1978 vote to ratify Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt.
During the last decade of his life, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, having already all but retired from public life. His wife Shulamit died in July 2011, aged 88.