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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘peres’

Shimon Peres, a Leader for All Seasons

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Shimon Peres understood the Biblical verse “to everything there is a season.”

When he was a young man working for David Ben-Gurion, he saw that Israel’s very existence was endangered by the surrounding armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other Arabs countries committed to the physical annihilation of the nation-state of the Jewish people. He did more than any other Israeli to prevent that from happening: he developed Israel’s nuclear arsenal, its navy and its military-industrial capacity. In his first book, “David’s Sling,” he described how he went about obtaining the assistance of other countries in allowing Israel to defend itself, using only its own soldiers. Peres would never compromise Israel’s security, even when that meant confronting American leaders who sought such compromise.

But Shimon Peres was also uncompromising in his quest for peace. When Israel became strong enough to defend itself, Peres saw a change in the seasons. He was the first to recognize the reality that a demilitarized Palestinian state would not only be just for the Palestinians, but would be good for the Israelis. He favored peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and, at the time of his death, he was reaching out to Sunni Muslim states to create a coalition against the common enemy Iran.

Shimon Peres was both a man of principle and of pragmatism. He understood that morality, without the strength to defend it, might cause a repetition of the disaster the Jewish people faced during the 1930s and 1940s, when they lacked the strength to defeat the most immoral force in the history of the world.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Arab Team Sued Over Fans’ Booing Shimon Peres’ Minute of Silence [video]

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Nir Reshef, an attorney for the Israeli soccer association, has decided not to overlook the behavior of some of the fans of Arab soccer team Maccabi Ahi Nazareth F.C. who booed during the minute of silence in memory of Israel’s 9th president, Shimon Peres, and sue their team, Israeli’s sports Channel 5 reported.

The game was a derby between the Arab team and its neighbor from the nearby Jewish Nazareth Illit.

The charge will likely be fan misconduct, an item that was added to the association’s rule book in 2007, when fans of Beitar Jerusalem booed during a minute of silence in memory of the late Yitzhak Rabin.

The Jerusalem team was punished at the time with two games that were played in an empty stadium, without fans, by a court of three judges, one of whom ruled against punishing the team arguing the fans had exercised their right to free speech. The team appealed to the Supreme Court which sided with the lower panel’s minority vote and revoked the punishment. As a result, the national soccer association amended its rules to include a prohibition on fan misconduct.

This time, when Maccabi Ahi Nazareth F.C. appeals to the high court, arguing for its fans’ right to free speech, as well as the fact that it cannot be assigned vicarious liability for fan behavior, the league can point to the rule book as a binding document.

Soccer association officials have told Channel 5 that “Ahi Nazareth must be punished severely,” pointing out that this most recent behavior took place during the week of the late president’s death, while the Jerusalem incident took place 12 years after Rabin’s murder.

David Israel

Shimon Peres (1923-1985;1986-2016): Which Do We Mourn?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

“Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast, another ready on the tongue.” — Gaius Sallustius Crispus, Roman historian and politician, (86 BCE – c. 35 BCE)

“It is our experience that political leaders do not always mean the opposite of what they say.” — Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat and politician (1919-2002)

On Wednesday, September 28, Shimon Peres, the 9th and arguably the most high-profile president of Israel, passed away. For all the glare of the public spotlight and scrutiny to which he has been exposed, he remains in many ways, an enigmatic figure, comprised of seemingly impossible contradictions for historians to attempt to decipher.

Sweeping international acclaim: Well-merited or unwarranted?

Peres will be laid to rest on Friday with all the pomp and ceremony that befits the funeral of a former head of state and public figure of international stature.

The expected attendees include world leaders and renowned celebrities from dozens of countries around the globe. US President Barack Obama, and former President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, former British PM Tony Blair, and Prince Charles are but a few names on the star-studded list of reported dignitaries, who plan to attend the ceremony. Tributes flowed in from far and wide, from Hollywood stars to the British royal family, mourning the passing of the man seen as Israel’s elder statesman.

Of course, all this international attention was not unexpected.  After all, during his lifetime, Peres had virtually every major international honor bestowed on him – from the Légion d’Honneur through the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom, to the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet, to some, all this acclaim and acknowledgment may seem somewhat incongruous in light of the almost unbroken succession of failures and fiascoes that have dogged much of his career since the late 1970s — both in terms of his personal electoral defeats and of his policy debacles — particularly the disastrous implosion of his flagship endeavor to resolve the conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, and the evaporation of his vision of a peaceful and prosperous “New Middle East.”

The enigmatic conundrum

As mentioned earlier, despite the fact that Peres was exposed to public scrutiny for almost seven decades, there in still much about him that remains a puzzling conundrum, comprising a tangled web of seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes. For many, his passing may well appear to be an appropriate juncture to begin addressing the intriguing challenge of unraveling the enigmatic kaleidoscope of events he traversed on his route to the pinnacle of international esteem.

To be sure, Peres’s extraordinary ability, passion and energy are beyond dispute. But so, it would seem, was his unbridled ambition, making the caveats in the introductory excerpts highly relevant in evaluating the breathtaking volte face in his professed political credo.

There can also be little dispute that, as president, he managed to restore an aura of dignity to the office, so severely tarnished by the unfortunate scandals that plagued the incumbency of his predecessor.

Even his fiercest critics cannot deny Peres’s huge contribution to the nation’s security, particularly in the first decade-and-a-half after independence.

As a young protégé of David Ben-Gurion’s, Peres is credited with playing a leading role in setting up much of the foundations for the nascent nation’s military infrastructure that has been so crucial in ensuring its survival and its technological edge – including Israel Aircraft Industries (today Israel Aerospace Industries), acquisition of advanced combat aircraft from France and the establishment of the nuclear facility in Dimona.

As defense minister at the time of the Entebbe raid in 1976, he is identified by many as providing the political will to push through the decision to carry out the now legendary operation.

The fruits of failure?

However, perversely, it has not been Peres’s successes – but his failures – that have catapulted him to international stardom. It was not his impressive accomplishments in the service of his nation that brought him global celebrity status, but the disastrous fiascoes in the pursuit of his wildly unrealistic illusions.

Thus, it was the disastrous Oslo Accords — which have long since imploded into bloody ruin — that brought him the 1994 Nobel Peace prize.

Likewise, it was his lofty vision of a “New Middle East” – with peace and prosperity stretching from the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf – that caught the imagination of so many, but now, with the descent of today’s Middle East into carnage and chaos, appears nothing but a ludicrous delusion.

Accordingly, it was not his considerable contributions to Israeli security that made him such a sought-after figure on the global stage, but rather his adoption of the role of supranational statesman on a noble quest for regional peace, a quest that precipitated nothing but death and devastation.

Moreover, since the late 1970s, by most accepted standards, Peres would have been considered a failed politician. Yet repeated electoral defeats, even at times when victory seemed almost certain, appear to have left his stature undiminished.

Snatching defeat from jaws of almost certain victory

Indeed, Peres never won a national election and lost numerous internal elections for party leadership.

Between 1977-96, he led the Labor party unsuccessfully in five general elections, losing four of them and tying in one of them (1984)’ resulting in a 2 year rotation arrangement, with Likud’s Yitzhak Shamir.

The razor-edge loss of the 1996 election to Benjamin Netanyahu, which he was widely expected to win, was particularly humiliating, given the waves of public sympathy his party enjoyed following the assassination of his predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin.

No less humiliating was the failure of his first bid to win the presidency in 2000, in which he was surprisingly defeated by the unimpressive and un-presidential Moshe Katsav.

Peres was also regularly defeated in elections for the leadership of the Labor party, by Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and even lack-luster Amir Peretz. It was shortly after his defeat by Peretz, that Peres abandoned the Labor party and joined Ariel Sharon’s newly formed Kadima faction. In 2007, Kadima, which today no longer exists, appointed Peres as its candidate for president — after considerable hesitation due to doubts as to whether he could win. This time, however, Peres won the vote, thus becoming president…on behalf of a party soon to disappear.

It was from this inauspicious start the Peres managed to choreograph his presidency into an international “hit” on a global scale.

Metamorphosis from hawk to dove

Peres was always obsessed with “tomorrow.” In many ways he appropriated it as his professional trademark, in an endeavor to brand himself as a future-oriented statesman. And while there was much to substantiate that image in his earlier hawkish era, his predictive acumen seems to have deserted him in his later dovish years.

Peres’s transformation from hawk to dove seems to have taken place around the mid-80s, when one Peres morphed into an almost diametric opposite Peres  (hence the dichotomy in the title).  Indeed, as Anshel Pfeffer wrote this week (Guardian, September 28): “If Peres had resigned from frontline politics at the age of 54, as many of his colleagues were demanding, after having lost the 1977 general election…he would be remembered as one of Israel’s most legendary security ‘hawks.’”

It was around then that Peres, as foreign minister, began to embrace the land-for-peace doctrine and, largely behind Prime Minister Shamir’s back, attempted to secure a deal with Jordan’s King Hussein over the fate of Judea-Samaria. Given the precarious plight of the Hashemite regime today, and the growing ascendancy of radical Islamist elements in the monarchy, it is difficult to be charitable as to the foresight such a proposal entailed.

Calculated cynicism or well-informed confidence

Referring to this puzzling transformation, Pfeffer observes: “Peres never explained the transformation he underwent in the wilderness of opposition.”

He offers two possible explanations, one of calculated cynicism, the other of well-informed confidence:

His many detractors said that Peres simply had no choice. With Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat … signing the Camp David peace agreement, he had no choice but to move leftwards and try to present himself as a better peacemaker than his Likud rivals [while] [h]is supporters explained [referring to Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities] that Peres knew more than anyone else just how strong and secure Israel had become, and could therefore make concessions and take risks for peace in its dangerous neighbourhood.

While some may balk at the former, the latter is entirely unpersuasive.

For as we shall see, and as hawkish Peres himself warned, the most immediate threats to Israel’s security today are those of enhanced and ongoing attrition rather than cataclysmic invasion by Arab armies. Accordingly, because of the diffuse nature and close proximity of the sources of these threats to Israeli population centers, the country’s alleged nuclear capabilities are largely irrelevant in dealing with them.

Yesterday’s view of ‘tomorrow’ 

As mentioned previously, Peres was always enamored with the “tomorrow” theme. One of his first forays in to “tomorrow-territory” was a programmatic book entitled Tomorrow is Now, which he authored as chairman of the Labor Party, just after it had lost power to Menachem Begin’s Likud. Published in 1978, it laid out Peres’s prescriptive vision for the future conduct of the affairs of the nation.

In many ways, the book – available only in Hebrew – is an astonishing document.

For those who are only familiar with the post-Oslowian dovish version of Peres, it offers some staggering surprises.

For the citizens of Israel – indeed, for anyone concerned with the fate of the Jewish state – it raises deeply disturbing questions regarding the judgment, credibility and integrity of those who have served in positions of senior leadership, and serious doubts as to the credence that can be placed in their pronouncements to the nation.

For, in virtually every aspect, the book negates precepts underlying the rationale of the Oslo Accords — including the validity of the land-for-peace doctrine, the desirability of a Palestinian state and the value of any agreements with the Arab world – particularly concerning demilitarization. Likewise, it strongly endorses Jewish settlements across the pre-1967 Green Line, including Judea-Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan. Indeed, it would not be far from the truth to say that Peres was in fact the founding father  (or at least, godfather) of today’s much maligned settlement project.

Peres’s past prescriptions; precise predictions

I have written extensively elsewhere of the incisive insights of Peres’s past prescriptions and the precision of his past predictions of the perils that would befall Israel were it to adopt the kind of policies that he later advocated. (see here and here). I pointed out how hawkish Peres forewarned of the very realities the dovish Peres endorsed, and how these were precisely the realities that precipitated the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in Judea-Samaria (2002) – and later operations in Gaza: Cast Lead (2008/9); Pillar of Defense (2012); Protective Edge (2014).

He warned of the dangers of relinquishing the highlands of Judea-Samaria to Arab control and how that would allow “the most extreme terrorist forces…equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, [to] endanger not only random passers-by, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the coastal plain.”

He argued that the greater range, mobility and firepower of modern weaponry only enhance the strategic importance of territorial depth and that relinquishing Judea-Samaria would “create compulsive temptation to attack Israel…” (p.255).

He cautioned against placing trust in agreements with the Arabs, since: “The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than the number which they have kept” (p.255).

Which Peres do we mourn?

But perhaps most significant was his endorsement of the settlement project and his call

to create a continuous stretch of new settlements; to bolster Jerusalem and the surrounding hills…by the establishment of townships, suburbs and villages –  Ma’ale Edumin, Ofra, Gilo, Bet-El, Givon…to ensure that the capital and its flanks are secured…the settlements along the Jordan River are intended to establish the Jordan River as [Israel’s] de facto security border; however, it is the settlements on the western slopes of the hills of Samaria and Judea which will deliver us from the curse of Israel’s “narrow waist”; the purpose of the settlements in the Golan is to ensure that this territorial platform will no longer constitute a danger, but a barrier against a surprise attack… (p.48)

So which Peres do we mourn? The dour hawkish Peres, who got it right? Or the internationally-acclaimed dovish Peres, who got it disastrously wrong?

Late President Shimon Peres

Late President Shimon Peres

Dr. Martin Sherman


Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The expected extravaganza has begun and it is difficult to say when it will lose steam.

If the media and the Left have it’s way, it will never end.

If the Rabin precedent teaches us something, we shall be convinced that we are now left orphaned, and the last hope for peace with our neighbors is now surely gone.

As with the Rabin extravaganza, the full weight of the state is being harnessed to sweep its citizens up in the whirlwind of adoration/mourning for a beloved father figure.

Do not even think of saying a critical word about Peres for the foreseeable future. Israel’s democracy and freedom of expression goes only so far…

I recall, some days after the Rabin assassination, I was in a shop. I heard two young men saying something negative about Rabin. I took out my little pad (no smart phones in those days with which to threaten with an instant photo) and with a very serious look, began to write and without looking up I asked them to please repeat what they said and for their names-They were very frightened. That was exactly the atmosphere then and the same looms over Israel’s citizens today.

Last night I listened to one of the hundreds of non-stop interviews with people adding their contribution to the deification of Peres.

An example:
One was with a former Intelligence chief who worked closely with and loved Peres. When asked about Peres’ stand on the 1981 strike on the Iraqi nuclear facility, he said that at first he was not supportive and then he was.
Wrong! To his last days he did not regret his fierce opposition to the strike that saved Israel and the world from a nuclear Saddam Hussein.

Peres never apologized for anything. Never.

The former intelligence chief just lied. the narrative must be preserved.

Expect this rewriting of history to continue, as it has in the case of Rabin and other darlings of the Left.

Peres has indeed done important things for Israel over the years, but, I like the description I heard just yesterday:
He was like one who fills a bucket with milk, only to kick it over afterwards.

The creation of the armed terrorist Palestine Authority was his baby.

When Rabin and Peres and Arafat were photographed accepting the Nobel prize for the Oslo crime, Rabin did not look very happy–Peres was beaming.

He never expressed any doubt. The thousands of Jews murdered since, were always, in his words, “The price of peace.”

In his later years, he shared his belief that history is not important. He lectured to many student groups convincing them that the(our) past is not important. The future is ours to create without the burden of the past…

Israel should strive to be the Singapore of the “New” Mid East. He even wrote a book about it . Everything in it was proven wrong but that won’t change his legacy ; at least not for the foreseeable future.

The world’s leaders are coming to pay their respects for the man who they admire – for weakening Israel’s claim to and passion for our land and for remaking Israel; as much like the nations as possible.

The world never does likes an Israel that is “too independent and Jewish”. We need friends, no?

It is interesting to note that the Palestinian Authority, Peres’ creation will not be sending its leader to the funeral. (Editor’s note: Abbas did come, against the wishes of most of the Palestinian Authority.)

This is perhaps the real lesson we can learn from his “New Middle East”

Shalom Pollack

FULL TEXT: US President Barack Obama’s Eulogy for Israel’s 9th President, Shimon Peres, z’l [video]

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his eulogy on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 with members of the Peres family, Israeli government leaders and several other world heads of state who bid their fellow statesman a final farewell from the podium. Below is the full text and a video of his eulogy.

Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel: I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.

A free life, in a homeland regained. A secure life, in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life, in friendship with nations who can be counted on as allies, always. A bountiful life, driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams. This was Shimon Peres’s life. This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century, and it was made possible by a founding generation that counts Shimon as one of its own.

Shimon once said, “The message of the Jewish people to mankind is that faith and moral vision can triumph over all adversity.” For Shimon, that moral vision was rooted in an honest reckoning of the world as it is. Born in the shtetl, he said he felt, “surrounded by a sea of thick and threatening forests.”

When his family got the chance to go to Palestine, his beloved grandfather’s parting words were simple: “Shimon, stay a Jew.” Propelled with that faith, he found his home. He found his purpose. He found his life’s work.

But he was still a teenager when his grandfather was burned alive by the Nazis in the town where Shimon was born. The synagogue in which he prayed became an inferno. The railroad tracks that had carried him toward the Promised Land also delivered so many of his people to death camps.

And so from an early age, Shimon bore witness to the cruelty that human beings could inflict on each other, the ways that one group of people could dehumanize another; the particular madness of anti-Semitism, which has run like a stain through history. That understanding of man’s ever-present sinfulness would steel him against hardship and make him vigilant against threats to Jewry around the world.

But that understanding would never harden his heart. It would never extinguish his faith. Instead, it broadened his moral imagination, and gave him the capacity to see all people as deserving of dignity and respect. It helped him see not just the world as it is, but the world as it should be.

What Shimon did to shape the story of Israel is well-chronicled. Starting on the kibbutz he founded with his love Sonya, he began the work of building a model community. Ben Gurion called him to serve the Haganah at headquarters to make sure that the Jewish people had the armaments and the organization to secure their freedom.

After independence, surrounded by enemies who denied Israel’s existence and sought to drive it into the sea, the child who had wanted to be a “poet of stars” became a man who built Israel’s defense industry, who laid the foundation for the formidable armed forces that won Israel’s wars.

His skill secured Israel’s strategic position. His boldness sent Israeli commandos to Entebbe, and rescued Jews from Ethiopia. His statesmanship built an unbreakable bond with the United States of America and so many other countries.

His contributions didn’t end there. Shimon also showed what people can do when they harness reason and science to a common cause. He understood that a country without many natural resources could more than make up for it with the talents of its people.

He made hard choices to roll back inflation and climb up from a terrible economic crisis. He championed the promise of science and technology to make the desert bloom, and turned this tiny country into a central hub of the digital age, making life better not just for people here, but for people around the world.

Indeed, Shimon’s contribution to this nation is so fundamental, so pervasive, that perhaps sometimes they can be overlooked.

For a younger generation, Shimon was probably remembered more for a peace process that never reached its endpoint. They would listen to critics on the left who might argue that Shimon did not fully acknowledge the failings of his nation, or perhaps more numerous critics on the right who argued that he refused to see the true wickedness of the world, and called him naïve.

But whatever he shared with his family or his closest friends, to the world he brushed off the critics. And I know from my conversations with him that his pursuit of peace was never naïve.

Every Yom HaShoah, he read the names of the family that he lost. As a young man, he had fed his village by working in the fields during the day, but then defending it by carrying a rifle at night.

He understood, in this war-torn region, where too often Arab youth are taught to hate Israel from an early age — he understood just how hard peace would be. I’m sure he was alternatively angry and bemused to hear the same critics, who called him hopelessly naïve, depend on the defense architecture that he himself had helped to build.

I don’t believe he was naïve. But he understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors. “We won them all,” he said of Israel’s wars. “But we did not win the greatest victory that we aspired to: release from the need to win victories.”

Jewish Press Staff

Eulogies by Shimon Peres’ Three Children

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Eulogy by Yoni Peres

So much has already been said and written about this giant of a man – Shimon Peres, statesman, intellectual and visionary. Words cannot adequately describe what he did for the State of Israel, the Jewish people and humanity.

However, today I would like to bid farewell to my father.

I was born and raised in a reality quite different from today.

Israel was a tiny, young country faced with formidable challenges.

That is why father decided to dedicate his life to the country and its people. My sister, my brother and I were raised with great devotion by our beloved mother, Sonia, of blessed memory.

As a child, I was privileged to observe and listen in amazement to his conversations with writers, poets, artists and intellectuals. Despite the many hurdles and difficulties along the way, he persevered and achieved great things.

Father considered himself shy, even though he was always under the spotlight. I must have inherited that trait from him. We had a deep and special bond. Despite his many absences, he always took a loving interest in us, even from great distances. He helped me through hard times, and I tried to be at his side too in difficult times, to help him even though he had enormous reserves of inner strength.

My father was very sensitive and caring towards all people. He wasn’t ruled by his ego, he treated everyone as an equal and was always attentive, interested and supportive.

He loved his family dearly, and with all the new members that joined us.

In recent years, he basked in the love of millions in Israel and the world. What a sight it was to see.

When asked what he would like to have inscribed on his tombstone after death, he said, without hesitation, “He was too young to die.” Indeed, my dear father, this is how I feel – you left us prematurely. There is so much more you could have done.

I bid you farewell with love and longing. May you rest in peace.


Eulogy by Prof. Tzvika Walden

My father had a long and good life.

Today, I bid farewell to two people:

Peres – Shimon, his Excellency, that is Mr. President.

And I say goodbye to the man my mother called Buzhik, and I called father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

The first was Peres of the state, of the people, the citizen of the world. Others will eulogize that Peres. I will share a few private moments.

The world will remember the determined Peres who never stopped, who kept running despite the obstacles, and despite the falls along the way. I will remember him during this past year at Friday-night dinners at our home, when he was the first to rise for Kiddush, holding the booklet with the Shabbat songs printed in tiny letters, trying to make out the words of the songs through his thick lenses, never skipping a word, singing at the top of his lungs.

He was described as a great negotiator, as someone who always found a way to get what he wanted. To me he was a young man who used his creative skills to get us to eat. Who cut sandwiches into triangles and diamonds. Try this. It’s a Burmese sandwich. My father pulled out all the creative stops, and used every trick of the trade to tempt us to open our mouths and eat and grow.

In the eyes of the public he will be remembered as one who dined with kings.

I remember him at the table of a French restaurant, when he whispered in my ear, it’s tastes good, but nothing compares to your mother’s salad. To him, Israel’s cucumbers and tomatoes were the finest of delicacies.

There were those who considered him an adventurer, someone who rushed to adopt every innovation.

But when I got married and decided to take the name Valden, it took him almost a year to come to terms with the idea. Whenever I came home, he would announce: Sonia, look who’s here, Mrs. Valden,” as pleased as punch.

He will be remembered as an elegant, well-dressed man, always well groomed, who would take a small comb from his pocket to smooth his hair. At home when we were arranging books on the shelves, and he was dressed only in khaki shorts and an undershirt, a knock was heard at the door. It’s okay, I said, it’s Rafi, but he being the complete gentleman that he was, hurried to the bedroom to put on a shirt.

Much has been said about his forbearance and infinite patience. He measured long and short on a timeline of two thousand years of history when weighing the state of the nation, but in nanoseconds when waiting for a text to be printed. He was ready with his new corrections even before the ink was dry. A day after lending me a book, he was astonished to learn that I had not yet finished reading it.

My father had a long and good life.

And all those years he was a man in love:

In love with Sonia – We were just about to dedicate Sonia House – a wellness center for the children of the Ben Shemen Youth Village, where they first met and fell in love.

Mother believed that every injustice in the world could be corrected  and was always there to listen, support and help.

Father admired this trait in her.

My father had a long and good life.

And all those years he was a man in love:

In love with his family, with the people of Israel, with the State of Israel,

A man who loved life in the present and was in love with the promise of the future.

My father, you were a lover of life, who sprung like a lion at daybreak to fulfill his mission.

For so long, I tried to catch up with you.

But now, heed my loving words, you have earned a well-deserved rest.


Eulogy by Chemi Peres

Farewell words to my dear father

We believe our father would have wanted us to say a few words in English to all of you who traveled from across the world to join us at this devastating moment, as we say goodbye and pay tribute to a special man who we all loved dearly.

He would have wanted us to thank you all for your friendship to him and to our people.

We believe that if he could he would have used this opportunity to remind us all that the role of leaders today is to serve their people and that there is no greater responsibility and no greater privilege than that.

He saw in all of you leaders, friends and partners in his quest for peace. We will treasure his memory and honor his legacy. And on a personal note let we switch to Hebrew

My dear beloved Father,

Today I am accompanying you on your last journey, to your eternal rest, in the National Cemetery on Mount Herzl, named for the visionary of the State.

In one of your many books, you accompanied Herzl on a wonderful imaginary journey to a new land. You were privileged to be one of Israel’s founding fathers. As indeed you were, your entire life. A visionary, a pioneer, a doer, who made his dreams come true.

You kept your promise to your beloved grandfather, when you bid him farewell on your first stop on the way to the Land of Israel.

You never forgot what it means to a Jew. And I promise you that neither will I. No one can continue to pave your path instead of you, but many follow in your footsteps, each according to their own way and conviction. And I am one of them, as best I can.

I had the great privilege to be one of your three children, and the father of three of your grandchildren: Nadav, Guy and Yael. We are the children and grandchildren of your and the love of your life, our dear beloved mother, Sonia.

Your parting words to her when she left us are engraved on our hearts: “I fell in love with you on the first day we met, I’ll love you till my last day on earth.” Your love was the first and greatest gift you gave me, my wife Gila and our three children. I have carried the love you both instilled in me from the day I was born, as will my wife and children, forever.

In the last ten years of your life, as President of the State of Israel and President of the Peres Center for Peace, our family grew closer than ever. Our oldest son Nadav made sure that we made the most of every minute with you. He patiently taught you that the news can be recorded, so that we could spend more time together. We were so happy that you got to know and love his girlfriend Noam, who is from Ben Shemen, with whom you shared your love of books and your curiosity about the study of the brain.

You took special interest in Guy’s studies. He so resembles you in appearance and in his kind heart. So often, we saw the two of you deep in conversation about interests that only you two shared.

You beamed with joy when you gazed at our youngest daughter Yael, whom you lovingly called Yali. You loved to sing to her and took a passionate interest in her plans for the future.

I cherished the special relationship forged with Gila, who loved and cared for you so. We loved our Friday night meals, the weekends and holidays we spent together in our house overlooking Lake Kinneret, home to poets Rachel and Naomi Shemer, so close to Kibbutz Alumot, which you helped to found.

We will remember you wherever we go and in whatever we do. We will remember you in words, and in books. We will remember you in poems and songs. And in the pathways of the country that you helped build, and in the magnificent undertakings you established.

Whenever we see your friends and loved ones, we will see your face reflected, as in the many people in Israel and the world for whom you were a leader, mentor and inspiration. You were a role model, a loyal son to your people and your country, and you strove with unparalleled determination for security and peace.

You never spared your energy, and it never waned. You made the most of every moment in your life, up to very the end. We will remember you as one whose greatness stemmed from a deep passion to serve a great cause, and not out of a desire for power. You leave behind a monumental and lasting legacy. I will never forget what I learned from you. The older I grew, the closer we became. And the closer I got, the more I saw your greatness. You were a giant.

In the last ten years of your life you were surrounded by boundless love, like never before. If only you could now see for a fleeting moment the pure love for you here, at this your last stop. How moved you would be, and thankful to all those who came from near and far. You always preferred the possibilities offered by the imagination to clinging to memories of the past. The legacy you leave to us is the world of tomorrow.

I told you that I loved you. But I never knew how much. Only the pain of loss and sorrow of separation that surround us all here together have helped me understand.

Farewell my teacher and mentor. Farewell beloved father and grandfather. We will travel the path of light you left us.

Jewish Press Staff

President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-reuven-rivlins-eulogy-at-the-funeral-of-israels-ninth-president-shimon-peres/2016/09/30/

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