Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 68-years-old.
He passed away in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, at noon.
Lipkin-Shahak was the IDF’s 15th chief of staff. He later served as the tourism and transportation minister in the 15th Knesset.
Born in 1944, Lipkin-Shahak enlisted in the IDF in 1962, joining the Paratroopers Brigade.
During his military service, he was decorated twice with the Medal of Courage for his conduct in Operation Inferno, in Karameh, Jordan, in 1968 and for his part in Operation Spring of Youth, in 1973 in Beirut, Lebanon.
In 1995, he succeeded Ehud Barak as the 15th Chief of the General Staff.
Lipkin-Shahak retired from the IDF after 36 years, in 1998. He was succeeded by Shaul Mofaz.
In 1999 Lipkin-Shahak entered politics, joining the new Center Party, headed by Yitzhak Mordechai. He was elected to the Knesset and served under Barak as prime minister.
While the House was in mid-term, he left the Center Party and joined the New Way party. He eventually resigned from the Knesset in 2001.
“The IDF, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the General Staff and all of the IDF’s commanders, officers and soldiers salute the memory of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and offer his family their condolences,” an IDF Spokesperson statement said Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his grief over the news of Lipkin-Shahak’s death, saying “He was a beloved hero who dedicated his life to the security of the State of Israel.
“His heroism was evident in the way he fought his illness as well. He never once lost composure or grace. On behalf of all of Israel, I offer his family our condolences.”
President Shimon Peres issued a statement as well: “Amonon Lipkin-Shahak was a true hero of Israel, who carried the light of peace. A rare individual who was an extraordinary mentor to his numerous soldiers. His contribution to state security was second to none. The whole of Israel is grieving for him.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak eulogized Lipkin-Shahak: “He was one of the pillars of Israel’s defense and security for the past two generations, a man loved and revered by all who knew him.
“Amnon was an example of courage, leadership and tenacity, both in his military life and his political one. Throughout his life he pursued Israel’s security and peace. He was an extraordinary man.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin eulogized the former IDF chief, saying, “Israel lost one of its finest sons today. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak serves his country and his people for many years, facing various challenges — military and political alike. We bow our heads with his passing. Our condolences to the family.”
Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said that “Amnon was an officer and a gentleman. A revered commander and an extraordinary person. He was loved by all. My condolences to his family.”
Former chief of staff and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz, issued the following statement: “I’m grieving for my commander and friend Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. He was an extraordinary man, who embodied military and political valor.
“He was a man of integrity, a true friend and a courageous commander. My heart goes out to his family. May he rest in peace.”
Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said: “We mourn for the death of one of Israel’s finest sons and one of the greatest champions for its security.
“Amnon’s wisdom, courage, integrity and devotion to the Zionist concept were a personal and national inspiration. His contribution will be with us always. My heart goes out to the family.”
Amram Mitzna added: “He was one of the finest commanders the IDF has ever had.”
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett said that, “Amnon was a true hero. A man of values and principles and Israel is forever in his debt for his contributions.”
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak will be laid to rest on Thursday, at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv.
Lipkin-Shahak is survived by his wife Tali and his six children.