The annual Tel Aviv rally marking former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination was held on Saturday night. Just three days prior it appeared it would have to be canceled due to lack of funding from the coalition of groups that normally organizes the rally. A faction in the Zionist Union Knesset party then stepped in to fund the event.
Several speakers and participants at the event sharply criticized organizers afterwards, saying the gathering was nothing more than a “cynical political rally” for the Zionist Union.
Thousands flocked to Rabin Square, after the Labor Party, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for remaining silent in the face of “incitement”, adding that he was taking the possibility of a unity government with the Likud party “off the table.”
But following the rally, several attendees said they regretted having participated.
Rabbi Benny Lau apologized for calling on the public to attend, saying, “I am sorry, it was a cynical political rally.” He told Galei Yisrael radio that “politics taking over the gathering is a disgrace.”
Rabbi Lau, a liberal rabbi who heads a prominent Orthodox community in Jerusalem and is the nephew of former Israeli Chief Yisrael Meir Lau, said during his speech at the memorial that it “should not be owned by a political party.”
Later, Lau wrote on Facebook that the rally he attended had transformed into a into a political demonstration for the left-wing Zionist Union and Meretz parties. “Coming to speak was the only chance I had to stand in front of my friends from the left and ask them to free the event of political ownership,” Lau wrote.
Also social activist Daphni Leef, who gained notoriety as the spokeswoman for the social protest movement in the summer of 2011, also voiced her dissatisfaction with what the Rabin memorial has become.
“I came to [Rabin] Square,” she wrote on Facebook. “I thought I would simply meet people to discuss the rifts in Israeli society, intolerance, and the significance of Rabin’s murder. Instead I arrived at an elections rally for Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Balloons that bore no messages, only names of political parties. I am fed up with politics and the cynicism upon which it is based.”
A nephew of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat who himself appears to be in the running to “someday” succeed Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas says Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization has sent Arafat’s 1994 Nobel Peace Prize medal to Ramallah.
Arafat was awarded the prize with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for their roles in agreeing on the 1993 Oslo Accords. All three men are now deceased.
The medal is to be exhibited among dozens of the PLO chairman’s belongings at a museum scheduled to open in Ramallah on November 9.
The chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) spent most of his time at the Muqata, his headquarters in the Samaria capital city of Ramallah. But he also had a separate headquarters in Gaza, and when he died in Paris in 2004, many of his possession were there as well. Many of those went missing after the Hamas terrorist organization ousted the rival Fatah faction and seized control over Gaza in 2007.
Arafat’s nephew and president of the “Arafat Institute,” Nasser al-Kidwa, said Tuesday that the Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to his uncle was the sole missing item returned to Ramallah by Hamas.
He has also been an Arab League envoy to Libya, according to the Al-Monitor website, which noted that Al-Kidwa has ties to Mohammed Dahlan, the former head of the Gaza-based PA Preventive Security Force. Dahlan had a falling-out with Abbas and has since made his home in the United Arab Emirates.
The Israel Security Agency / Shin Bet domestic intelligence service has just released a wealth of historical documents and photos received from Shimon Peres over the years.
The items were sent during the statesman’s various tenures in government. The Shin Bet personal protection unit provided an escort for Shimon Peres for nearly 40 years.
Israeli Chief of Police, Roni Alsheikh briefed the media at police headquarters in Jerusalem Wednesday night about the preparations of the Israeli police for the state viewing and funeral of the former president.
Thousands of police officers will be stationed around the capital, and will also accompany the coffin as it makes its way from Tzrifin, near Rishon LeZion, to the podium at the Knesset where it will be placed for public viewing on Thursday, from 9 am till 9 pm.
Border Guard police officers and undercover police will also be deployed around Jerusalem as well.
Traffic will be restricted and detours will be set up, along with a number of road blocks, in order to facilitate ease of movement for the funeral convoy and foreign dignitaries as they pass through the city on the way to and from the Knesset.
The same arrangement will also apply on Friday, as thousands more are expected to arrive late into the night Thursday to attend the funeral, and will be traveling to and from Mount Herzl cemetery.
The former president will be laid to rest about five meters from the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed his “sadness and sorrow” on Wednesday over the death of former President Shimon Peres.
Abbas sent a message of condolence to the family of Israel’s ninth president, according to the official PA news agency, WAFA.
“Peres was a partner in making the brave peace with the martyr Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister [Yitzhak] Rabin, and made unremitting efforts to reach a lasting peace from the Oslo Agreement until the final moments of his life,” Abbas said, according to WAFA.
Peres is to be laid to rest at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, in the section reserved for Israel’s founding fathers. He will be laid to rest five meters from Rabin.
However, the same official PA news agency also issued a venomous obituary for Peres in which the former president was said to be responsible for the “deaths of Palestinians” and “many crimes.” Peres was described in an official statement from the PA government as having been responsible for having built the Dimona nuclear reactor, and there was no mention of the 93-year-old statesman’s role in “making the brave peace” or for having tried to reach a “lasting peace” via the Oslo Accords — for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Israel’s late Prime Minister Rabin, and late PLO terror leader Yasser Arafat.
Meanwhile, the Hamas terrorist organization based in Gaza — which is also part of the Palestinian Authority — welcomed the death of the former Israeli president.
Sami Abu Zukhri, a spokesperson for Hamas, said “The Palestinian people are happy at the death of this criminal.
Shimon Peres was one of the last Israeli founders of the occupation. His death marks the end of an era in the history of the Israeli occupation,” he told the AFP news agency.
Peres will be laid to rest on Friday, and it is not yet known whether or not the Palestinian Authority will send a delegation to the funeral.
PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Special Cabinet Meeting
“This is the first day in the State of Israel without the late Shimon Peres. Shimon Peres was among our greatest leaders, who left behind him a long trail of unique achievements. On behalf of the entire Jewish People, the citizens of Israel and the Government of Israel, I convey deep condolences to Shimon’s family.
Shimon Peres lived a life rich in deeds, which symbolize the history of a revived Israel – the life of an ancient people that marches, revived, on its land, the power of our people to defend itself, and is building up its homeland with sweat and courage.
When Shimon, as a youth, went to the Ben Shemen agricultural school, he wrote: ‘The goal of my life is to serve my people.’ He realized this goal. He believed with all his heart in the goals of Zionism and was a man of inspiring vision. Shimon accompanied the state since before its birth, stood by the cradle, and made sure that it could stand on strong legs. He was at the side of David Ben-Gurion during fateful decisions, at a time when the young Israel was fragile and its military strength had yet to be realized. Shimon greatly contributed to the building up of our strength. He made a unique contribution to the strengthening of our security both openly and in areas that are best left unspoken.
One of the summits of his life was the successful operation to free those of our people who had been hijacked to Entebbe. As Defense Minister in the government of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon played a crucial role in the decision to dispatch our planes and commandos into the heart of Africa. But alongside this, alongside all of his work on behalf of the security of Israel, Shimon Peres never stopped striving for peace and believing in peace. His hand was always extended toward historic reconciliation with our neighbors. Even if this reconciliation tarried, he taught us not to give in to despair but to cling to the hope and to continue working.
Shimon Peres was an MK for almost 50 years. He served as a minister in various governments in many and varied portfolios. He twice led our country as Prime Minister. He opened our international links, contributed to stabilizing the economy and worked greatly on behalf of immigration from the USSR and Ethiopia.
We all know that political life was not always kind to Shimon. Alongside his achievements, he also knew disappointment, he also knew difficult moments, he also knew pointed criticism. But through his great strength of will Shimon continued to move forward, imbued with the aspiration to advance the development of the country that he loved so much, and imbued with the aspiration to bring peace.
There were many things that we agreed on and the number of these grew over the years. But we also had our disagreements, which are a natural part of democratic life. Even in these instances, the respect that I felt for Shimon was never impaired. On the contrary, as time passed our relations became closer. I esteemed him. I loved him. During his tenure as President, we had many personal meetings, often lasting deep into the night. These were fascinating, in-depth meetings in which I learned to recognize the man, to recognize his life’s story and to listen to his thoughts.
Only two months ago I came with my wife to launch the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. We shared a common vision – a vision of progress and technology. Shimon saw the presence of Israel at the forefront of scientific and technological progress, and rightly so, as a key to human welfare, the key to peace. At that meeting I was stirred by his curiosity, his ability to mobilize a vision of the future world. After the ceremony, we sat for a long time. We arranged to meet again, to continue to promote the common vision of technology and innovation – and yes, also peace.
Unfortunately, this meeting will not take place. The prayer which I made on behalf of all citizens of Israel from the podium of the United Nations, the prayer that I offered for his recovery did not materialize. But our consolation is that so many things in the life of Shimon did come true. And the seven years of Shimon Peres’ presidency were a rejuvenation. He won the public’s bipartisan, cross-sector admiration. Love of the people was forthcoming and warmed his heart.
Shimon was a man of vision, he was a man of peace, he was also a man of letters, and without these two elements there can be no national revival. For all these reasons Shimon won worldwide international recognition. Heads of state sought him out and honored him. Many of them, along with us, will accompany him on his last journey to eternal rest in the soil of Jerusalem. Shimon’s work will yet remain with us for many generations. He will be enshrined in my heart always and etched in our hearts forever.
May his memory be blessed.”
President Reuven Rilvin
“This is a sad morning for all of us. There is not a chapter in the history of the State of Israel in which Shimon did not write or play a part. A man who was a symbol for the great spirit of this people. Shimon made us look far into the future. As one man he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision, and we loved him dearly. We loved him even when we did not see things eye to eye, because he made us dare to imagine not what was once here, nor what is now, but what could be.”
Minister Miri Regev
“We are officially convening the ministerial Committee on Symbols and ceremonies, which today mourns the passing of former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. We are preparing for a very large and complex funeral that will coordinate very many elements. Here today is the Director General of the Foreign Ministry and the Jerusalem District Police commander, as well as representatives from the Defense Ministry, Knesset, and the Prime Minister’s Bureau, among others. We are, in effect, working to coordinate the entire effort.
I would like to thank Minister Ofir Akunis and Minister Sofa Landver, who are present as members of the committee. We will work under the ‘Havatzelet’ protocol to facilitate a respectable funeral that will allow the citizens of the country and the world leaders who will arrive to pay proper respect to former President Peres. Therefore, as soon as the committee votes on its decisions, everyone will go to work in his area and we will meet from time to time on a more reduced basis to oversee coordination.
There will be several centers: The airport, to which the leaders will arrive. The second center is the Knesset. The third is Mt. Herzl, including the interment itself. There are many elements here that we will need to coordinate so that everything goes smoothly and respectably, despite all the constraints we are under and the complexity of the event. There is also, of course, Shabbat that we must take into account and see that we finish on time so that all of the police and other elements working on the event can return home in time for Shabbat.”
“Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, mourns the passing of the ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres and offers its sincerest condolences to his family and all of the people of Israel.
Former President Peres was a dedicated supporter of teaching the legacy of the Shoah, so that the Jewish people – and all humanity – may have a brighter future. Shimon Peres worked tirelessly to further the causes of justice and peace for all humankind.”
Israel Atomic Energy Commission
“Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Director Ze’ev Senir and the commission’s employees and retirees mourn the passing of former President, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. His work is interwoven with the work of the IAEC since its founding.
Shimon Peres substantially contributed to the establishment of the Negev Nuclear Research Center and the foundation of Israel’s nuclear policy as a significant contribution in ensuring the national strength of the State of Israel. His legacy will accompany the work of the IAEC in the future as well. May his memory be blessed.”
Former president, prime minister, statesman and Nobel Peace Laureate Shimon Peres has died at the age of 93. He passed away during the early morning hours of September 28 at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan after suffering a severe stroke two weeks ago, on September 13. Peres’ condition had been improving, until it suddenly sharply deteriorated on Tuesday and he was pronounced dead at 3:40 a.m. Israel time.
The hospital is due to make an official announcement at 7:00 a.m. local time.
Born in Poland in 1923 as Szymon Perski, Peres moved to Israel with his family in 1934 and rose to become one of the most prominent and influential figures in Israel’s history. He was one of the founders of Kibbutz Alumot in the north of the country, where he worked as a shepherd and a farmer, and in 1945 he married Sonya Gelman. They had three children together- Tsvia, Yoni and Chemi. Sonya Peres died in 2011 at the age of 87.
During a political career that spanned 73 years, Peres served as prime minister, president, and Knesset member for 47 consecutive years, the longest anyone has served in the Israeli parliament. He also published at least 11 books as well as hundreds of articles in newspapers and periodicals in Israel and around the world.
Peres’s political career began in 1941 when he was elected Secretary of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, the Labour party youth movement. David Ben Gurion then appointed him to the secretariat of Mapai, the party that later became Labour, and in 1946 Peres was chosen alongside Moshe Dayan as a youth delegate in the party’s delegation to the Zionist Congress in Basel.
In 1947 Shimon Peres joined the Haganah, the armed forces that later became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He became director-general of the Ministry of Defense in 1953, when he was only 29 years old. During the 1950s he played an important role in developing Israel’s defense industry, forming strong personal and political relations with French officials that resulted in many years of military aid, strong cooperation between the countries, and the establishment of Israel’s nuclear research center in Dimona.
Peres served two terms as prime minister, from 1984 and 1986 and 1995-6 following the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He was a member of 12 cabinets, holding positions including defense minister, foreign affairs minister and finance minister.
Peres was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize (together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat) for his role in the 1993 Declaration of Principles signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Two years later he established the Peres Peace Center which aims to promote peace through cooperation and face-to-face interaction between Jews and Arabs.
After leaving the Labor Party in 2005 to join the more centrist Kadima faction, headed by Ariel Sharon, Peres was elected president by the Knesset in 2007, succeeding Moshe Katsav.
Peres ended his political career when his presidency term ended in 2014, but continued his involvement in public activities, primarily through the Peres Peace Center.