Monday, October 10, 2016

R.I.P. Shimon Peres

One of the great statesmen of our era died a few days ago. Shimon Peres was an erudite man, and amazing man, an immigrant from Poland to Palestine, he spoke six languages including English, wrote perhaps a dozen books (some history, some poetry), composed songs and poems prolifically and published many. He gave away the proceeds from publication.

Active in the fighting for Israeli independence and a protege of David Ben-Gurion, the father of Israel, Peres became minister of defense at the astonishingly young age of 29. In those days he was a militant, a dedicated militarist (some thought him not to be trusted) whose efforts built much of the Israeli military. It was only later that he became convinced that only by making peace could Israel and the rest of the Middle East ever exist together.

He was a member of the government of Israel in one way or another for much of seven decades. Peres served as Prime Minister twice and as Interim PM twice as well, and most recently he had been Israel's President. Most importantly he was the architect and moving force behind the Oslo Agreement that brought Itzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Libeation Organization to the (alas failed) Oslo Accord peace agreement and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with them. He was a true statesman.

I sketched him from online references, intrigued by the cragginess of his very expressive face. Rest in peace.

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