Israel Loses Great Soldier, Peacemaker

December 19, 2012

Today we mourn the loss of a great Israeli patriot and peace visionary, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. As IDF chief of staff, Minister for Transport and for Tourism, and a member of the Knesset, Lipkin-Shahak’s long career will be remembered for his tremendous service to his country and to the Jewish people and especially for his inspiring advocacy for peace.

A highly decorated soldier and beloved commander, Lipkin-Shahak led his forces in daring operations, but also recognized that Israel’s security could only ultimately be secured through peace agreements with its neighbors.

Lipkin-Shahak was an early champion of the two-state solution, and as a trusted aide to Prime Minister Rabin, he helped to negotiate the Oslo peace accords and led peace talks with Syria.

When J Street was founded in 2008 to advance US leadership toward Middle East peace, Lipkin-Shahak was among the first Israeli leaders to extend his hand in friendship and defend our work and its importance in Israel. Earlier this year, he said, “We used to be 12 tribes. We are still separated in many parties, ideas, differences. But we are still one people.”

Lipkin-Shahak’s death at only age 68 after a long illness is a heavy loss to Israel and to the Jewish people. We will sorely miss him, but we will not forget him and will carry his vision forward.