In Memoriam: Shimon Erem

Long-time AIPAC activist Shimon Erem, a pillar of the Los Angeles pro-Israel community, passed away May 27 at the age of 90.

Erem, who once told a friend that he awoke every morning and asked himself, “What can I do for Israel today,” was involved in every chapter of Israel’s history. He served heroically in Israel’s armed forces, and later moved to the United States where he became an articulate pro-Israel advocate.

Erem was perhaps best known at AIPAC for being among the first activists back in the early 1990s to alert the American pro-Israel community to the danger of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, and he continued working hard over the years to help move the issue to the top of the American foreign policy agenda.

Recognizing the importance of involving Christian Americans in building and strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance, he worked closely with the Christian community to increase their involvement in pro-Israel politics.

Erem was just a toddler when his parents left Lithuania for their new home in Palestine.

During World War II, he joined the Jewish Brigade of the British army and was decorated four times for bravery. In 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion asked Erem to help organize the first officers’ school for the new nation’s armed forces.

He fought as a battalion commander at Latrun, led troops as brigade commander in the Sinai campaign, served as commander of Special Forces in the Six-Day War, and fought in the Yom Kippur War.

Indeed, Shimon Erem devoted every day to Israel’s wellbeing. His life will forever serve as an example and a blessing.