Tamir (Katznelson), Shmuel

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TAMIR (Katznelson), SHMUEL

TAMIR (Katznelson ), SHMUEL (1923–1987), Israeli lawyer and politician, member of the Sixth to Ninth Knessets. Tamir was born in Jerusalem, the son of Dr. Reuben Katzenelson, but later adopted the name he had assumed while a member of the *Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi. He grew up under the influence of the atmosphere that followed the massacre of Jews in *Hebron in 1929, and believed that those accused of Haim *Arlosoroff 's murder were innocent. Tamir joined the iẒl in 1938. He was a radio announcer on the Voice of Jerusalem but was fired in 1944 when his membership in the iẒl was discovered, after he had commanded an operation to blow up the income tax office in Jerusalem. In 1946 he was appointed deputy commander of the iẒl in Jerusalem, and the following year was arrested by the British authorities for the third time, and deported to Kenya, where he was allowed to study for his final law examinations. In July 1948 Tamir was returned to Israel, but was not mobilized to the idf in the War of Independence. He joined the *Ḥerut Movement when it was founded in 1948, and belonged to the La-Merḥav faction that supported unity with the General Zionists. Tamir left the Ḥerut Movement in 1952 and concentrated on his legal career. Among the important cases in which he was involved was the Ẓerifin trial in 1953, in which he defended an underground group called "Loḥamei Malkhut Yisrael" responsible for an explosion in the Soviet Embassy in February 1953. In 1954 Tamir defended Malki'el Grunwald, in a libel suit brought against him by Israel *Kasztner, whom he had accused of collaborating with the Nazis. In 1962 he represented the Herzliya film studios in an appeal against the decision of the censorship to prohibit the screening of a newsreel showing a demonstration in the Arab village of Sumayil that was crushed with violence. In 1957 Tamir was one of the founders of a movement called "Ha-Mishtar he-Ḥadash" that sought to bring about changes in the Israeli political system. In 1964 he returned to the Ḥerut movement, and participated in the founding of *Gaḥal, on whose list he was elected to the Sixth Knesset in 1965, but he was expelled from the Ḥerut movement after criticizing the leadership of Menaḥem *Begin. In March 1967, together with two additional members who broke away from Gaḥal, he established the Free Center Party, which ran in the elections to the Seventh Knesset in 1969 and won two seats. The Free Center joined the Likud when it was formed in 1973 prior to the elections to the Eighth Knesset, and the following year Tamir called upon the Likud to accept the principle of territorial compromise in a settlement with the Arabs. It was against the background of this initiative that the Free Center fell apart. In January 1977 Tamir resigned his Knesset seat, and joined the new *Democratic Movement for Change, which won 15 seats in the elections to the Ninth Knesset. After the dmc joined the government, Tamir was appointed minister of justice. After the dmc disintegrated in September 1978 Tamir became part of the Democratic Movement parliamentary group. In August 1980 he resigned from the government, since he felt that the Democratic Movement, with only four Knesset members remaining, ought not to have three portfolios in the government. In March 1981 he left the Democratic movement and remained in the Knesset as a single mk. He did not run in the elections to the Tenth Knesset in 1981, and returned to his law practice. In the years 1983–85 he was head of the team that negotiated the exchange of prisoners deal with the plo, in the aftermath of the Lebanese War.

His autobiography Ben ha-Areẓ ha-Zot appeared in 2002.

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]