Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s defining political figures of the 20th century and a Nobel peace prize laureate, has died at the age of 93.
Perez was a giant of Israeli politics and was widely respected by leaders across the world. President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, as well as Prince Charles and François Hollande all plan to attend Peres’s funeral and burial.
Peres served as prime minister of Israel two times and later as the country’s ninth president. During his many years serving Israel, Peres was a key figurehead in crafting the Oslo peace accords, which earned him a Nobel peace prize.
The Oslo peace accords remain the basis of relations between Israeli and Palestinian officials in West Bank. Peres envisioned the accords as a “lasting and comprehensive peace settlement” between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Today with deep sorrow we bid farewell to our beloved father, the ninth president of Israel,” said Peres’s son. “Our father’s legacy has always been to look to tomorrow. We were privileged to be part of his private family, but today we sense that the entire nation of Israel and the global community share this great loss. We share this pain together.”
Peres’s legacy will always be intertwined with Israel’s short history. According to the Guardian:
For many Israelis – even those on the right who opposed his support of the peace process as “naive” – The last surviving figure associated with the founding of modern Israel, Peres moved from being a hawk to a peacemaker.
For a long time he was a deeply divisive figure in Israeli politics, although in later life he became one of the country’s most popular public figures, serving a seven-year term as president from 2007-14.
Public service was a calling for Peres. He occupied almost every significant position in Israeli political life during his long tenure in politics.
Peres was the last surviving figure associated with the founding of modern Israel. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said: “He worked tirelessly for a two-state solution that would enable Israel to live securely and harmoniously with the Palestinians and the wider region.
Even in the most difficult hours, he remained an optimist about the prospects for reconciliation and peace.”
(H/T: The Guardian)