Shimon Peres

From New World Encyclopedia

Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres

Peres in 2009

9th President of Israel
In office
July 15, 2007 – July 24, 2014
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Moshe Katsav
Succeeded by Reuven Rivlin

8th Prime Minister of Israel
In office
November 4, 1995 – June 18, 1996
Acting: 4 November 1995 – 22 November 1995
President Chaim Herzog
Preceded by Yitzhak Rabin
Succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu
In office
September 13, 1984 – October 20, 1986
Preceded by Yitzhak Shamir
Succeeded by Yitzhak Shamir
In office
April 22, 1977 – June 21, 1977
Acting (unofficial)
President Ephraim Katzir
Preceded by Yitzhak Rabin
Succeeded by Menachem Begin

Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
March 7, 2001 – November 2, 2002
Deputy Michael Melchior
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Preceded by Shlomo Ben-Ami
Succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu
In office
July 14, 1992 – November 22, 1995
Deputy Yossi Beilin
Eli Dayan
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Preceded by David Levy
Succeeded by Ehud Barak
In office
October 20, 1986 – December 23, 1988
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Preceded by Yitzhak Shamir
Succeeded by Moshe Arens

Minister of Defence
In office
October 20, 1986 – June 18, 1996
Preceded by Yitzhak Rabin
Succeeded by Yitzhak Mordechai
In office
June 3, 1974 – June 20, 1977
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Preceded by Moshe Dayan
Succeeded by Ezer Weizman

Minister of Finance
In office
December 22, 1988 – March 15, 1990
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Preceded by Moshe Nissim
Succeeded by Yitzhak Shamir

Minister of Transportation
In office
September 1, 1970 – March 10, 1974
Prime Minister Golda Meir
Preceded by Ezer Weizman
Succeeded by Aharon Yariv

Member of the Knesset
In office
3 November 1959 – 13 June 2007

Born August 2 1923(1923-08-02)
Wiszniew, Poland
(now Vishnyeva, Belarus)
Died September 28 2016 (aged 93)
Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, Ramat Gan, Israel
Political party Mapai (1959–1965)
Rafi (1965–1968)
Labor (1968–2005)
Kadima (2005–2016)
Spouse Sonya Gelman (1945–2011)
Children Zvia
Alma mater The New School
New York University
Harvard University

Shimon Peres (Hebrew: שמעון פרס; born Szymon Perski; August 2, 1923 – September 28, 2016) was a Polish-born Israeli statesman. He was the ninth President of Israel, serving from 2007 to 2014. Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister, and he was a member of twelve cabinets in a political career spanning seven decades.

First elected to the Knesset in November 1959, Peres served continuously, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, until 2007, when he became President, serving in the role for another seven years. During his career, he represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima, and led Alignment and Labor. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he was the world's oldest head of state. He was considered the last link to Israel's founding generation.

Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords.


Shimon Peres was born Szymon Perski on August 2, 1923,[1] in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus), to Yitzhak (1896–1962) and Sara (1905–1969 née Meltzer) Perski.[2] His father was a wealthy timber merchant, later branching out into other commodities; his mother was a librarian. He had a younger brother, Gershon,[3] and was a relative of American film star Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Persky).[4] The family spoke Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian at home, and Peres learned Polish at school. He then learned to speak English and French.[1]

Shimon Peres (standing, third from right) with his family, ca. 1930

Peres' grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Meltzer, a grandson of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, had a great impact on his life. Peres told Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson that he had been born as a result of a blessing his parents had received from a chassidic rebbe and that he was proud of it.[5] When he was a child, Peres was taken by his father to Radun' to receive a blessing from Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (known as "the Chofetz Chaim").[6]

As a child, Peres would later say, "I did not dream of becoming president of Israel. My dream as a boy was to be a shepherd or a poet of stars."[7] He inherited his love of French literature from his maternal grandfather.[8]

In 1932, Peres' father immigrated to Mandatory Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv. The family followed him in 1934.[3] He attended Balfour Elementary School and High School, and Geula Gymnasium (High School for Commerce) in Tel Aviv. At 15, he transferred to Ben Shemen agricultural school and lived on Kibbutz Geva for several years.[3] Peres was one of the founders of Kibbutz Alumot. In 1941 he was elected Secretary of HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, a Labor Zionist youth movement, and in 1944 returned to Alumot, where he worked as a dairy farmer, shepherd, and kibbutz secretary. All of Peres' relatives who remained in Wiszniew in 1941 were murdered during the Holocaust, many of them (including Rabbi Meltzer) burned alive in the town's synagogue.[9]

A picture of 13-year-old Shimon Peres taken in Poland.

At age 20, Peres was elected to the HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed national secretariat, where he was one of only two Mapai party supporters, out of the 12 members. Three years later, he took over the movement and won a majority. The head of Mapai, David Ben-Gurion, and Berl Katznelson began to take an interest in him, and appointed him to Mapai's secretariat.

In 1944, Peres led an illicit expedition into the Negev, then a closed military zone requiring a permit to enter. The expedition, consisting of a group of teenagers, along with a Palmach scout, a zoologist, and an archaeologist, had been funded by Ben-Gurion and planned by Palmach head Yitzhak Sadeh, as part of a plan for future Jewish settlement of the area so as to include it in the Jewish state.[10] The group was arrested by a Bedouin camel patrol led by a British officer, taken to Beersheba (then a small Arab town) and incarcerated in the local jail. All of the participants were sentenced to two weeks in prison, and as the leader, Peres was also heavily fined.[11]

In 1946, Peres and Moshe Dayan were chosen as the two youth delegates in the Mapai delegation to the Zionist Congress in Basel.

In 1947, Peres joined the Haganah, the predecessor of the Israel Defense Forces. David Ben-Gurion made him responsible for personnel and arms purchases; he was appointed to head the naval service when Israel received independence in 1948.[10]

Peres was director of the Defense Ministry's delegation in the United States in the early 1950s. While in the U.S. he studied English, economics, and philosophy at The New School and New York University, and advanced management at Harvard University.[3][12]

Peres was polyglot, speaking Polish, French, English, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew, although he never lost his Polish accent when speaking in Hebrew.[8] In his private life, he was a poet and songwriter, writing stanzas during cabinet meetings, with some of his poems later being recorded as songs in albums.[13] As a result of his deep literary interests, he could quote from Old Testament prophets, French literature, and Chinese philosophy with equal ease.[8]


In May 1945 Peres married Sonya Gelman, whom he had met in the Ben Shemen Youth Village, where her father served as a carpentry teacher. The couple married after Sonya finished her military service as a truck driver in the British Army during World War II. Through the years Sonya chose to stay away from the media and keep her privacy and the privacy of her family, despite her husband's extensive political career.[14]

With the election of Peres for president, Sonya Peres, who had not wanted her husband to accept the position, announced that she would stay in the couple's apartment in Tel Aviv and not join her husband in Jerusalem. The couple thereafter lived separately. She died on January 20, 2011, aged 87, from heart failure at her apartment in Tel Aviv.[14]

Shimon and Sonya Peres had three children:

  • A daughter, Dr. Tsvia ("Tsiki") Walden, a linguist and professor at Beit Berl Academic College;
  • An elder son, Yoni, director of Village Veterinary Center, a veterinary hospital on the campus of Kfar Hayarok Agricultural School near Tel Aviv. He specializes in the treatment of guide dogs;
  • A younger son, Nehemia ("Chemi"), co-founder and Managing General Partner of Pitango Venture Capital, one of Israel's largest venture capital funds. Chemi Peres is a former helicopter pilot in the IAF.

Peres was a cousin of actress Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Persky), although the two only discovered this in the 1950s. He said: "In 1952 or 1953 I came to New York... Lauren Bacall called me, said that she wanted to meet, and we did. We sat and talked about where our families came from, and discovered that we were from the same family."[15]


On September 13, 2016, Peres, aged 93, suffered a "massive stroke" and was hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel.[16] His condition stabilized, but on September 27, 2016 it was reported that he had suffered irreversible brain damage and organ failure and was reportedly in terminal condition.[17] He died the following day, September 28, 2016, in the hospital.[18]

Peres' funeral was held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. It was the largest such event in Israel since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. About 4,000 mourners and world leaders from 75 countries attended the funeral, including: Prince Charles of the UK, French President Francois Hollande, Former US President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. "It's hard to imagine any other leader being mourned in quite the same way."[19]


From a young age, he was renowned for his oratorical brilliance, and was chosen as a protégé by David Ben Gurion, Israel's founding father.[20] He began his political career in the late 1940s, holding several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after the Israeli war of independence.

Ministry of Defense

Peres was appointed to his first high-level government position as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952 at the age of 28, and Director-General from 1953 until 1959.[2] At age 29, he was the youngest person to hold this position. In this position he was instrumental in establishing close relations with France, securing massive amounts of quality arms that, in turn, helped to tip the balance of power in the region.[21]

Through Peres' mediation, Israel acquired the advanced Dassault Mirage III French jet fighter, established the Dimona nuclear reactor and entered into a tri-national agreement with France and the United Kingdom, positioning Israel in what would become the 1956 Suez Crisis. Peres continued as a primary intermediary in the close French-Israeli alliance from the mid-1950s,[10] although from 1958, he was often involved in tense negotiations with Charles de Gaulle over the Dimona project.[22]

1956 Suez Crisis

Main article: Suez Crisis
Peres (center) with Ezer Weizman and King Mahendra of Nepal in 1958

From 1954, as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense, Peres was instrumental in negotiating the Franco-Israeli agreement for a military offensive, the 1956 Suez War.[23] Peres was sent by David Ben-Gurion to Paris, where he held secret meetings with the French government.[24] In November 1954, Peres visited Paris, where he was received by the French Defense Minister Marie-Pierre Kœnig, who told him that France would sell Israel any weapons it wanted to buy.[25] By early 1955, France was shipping large amounts of weapons to Israel. In April 1956, following another visit to Paris by Peres, France agreed to disregard the Tripartite Declaration, and supply more weapons to Israel. During the same visit, Peres informed the French that Israel had decided upon war with Egypt in 1956.[25] Throughout the 1950s, an extraordinarily close relationship existed between France and Israel, characterized by unprecedented cooperation in the fields of defense and diplomacy. For his work as the architect of this relationship, Peres was awarded the highest medal of the French Legion of Honor.

In 1956, Peres took part in the historic negotiations on the Protocol of Sèvres alongside Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, Christian Pineau and Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces General Maurice Challe, and British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd and his assistant Sir Patrick Dean. Britain and France enlisted Israeli support for an alliance against Egypt. The parties agreed that Israel would invade the Sinai Peninsula. Britain and France would then intervene, instructing the Israeli and Egyptian armies to withdraw their forces to a distance of ten miles (16 kilometers) from either side of the canal.[26] The British and French would then argue that Egypt's control of such an important route was too tenuous, and that it needed be placed under Anglo-French management. The agreement at Sèvres was initially described by British Prime Minister Anthony Eden as the "highest form of statesmanship."[27] The three allies, especially Israel, were mainly successful in attaining their immediate military objectives. However, the extremely hostile reaction to the Suez Crisis from both the United States and the USSR forced them to withdraw, resulting in a failure of Britain and France's political and strategic aims of controlling the Suez Canal.

Political career

Peres was first elected to the Knesset in the 1959 elections,[10] as a member of the Mapai party. He was given the role of Deputy Defense Minister, which he filled until 1965. Peres and Moshe Dayan left Mapai with David Ben-Gurion to form a new party, Rafi, which reconciled with Mapai and joined the Alignment (a left-wing alliance) in 1968. He held negotiations with John F. Kennedy, which concluded with the sale of Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel, the first sale of US military equipment to Israel.[28]

Prime Minister Peres delivers a speech in front of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, 2 October 1985

In 1969, Peres was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption and in 1970 he became Minister of Transportation and Communications. In 1974, after a period as Information Minister, he was appointed Minister of Defense in the Yitzhak Rabin government, having been Rabin's chief rival for the post of Prime Minister after Golda Meir resigned in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. During this time, Peres continued to challenge Rabin for the chairmanship of the party, but in 1977, he again lost to Rabin in the party elections.[10]

Prime Minister

Peres succeeded Rabin as party leader prior to the 1977 elections when Rabin stepped down in the wake of a foreign currency scandal involving his wife. As Rabin could not legally resign from the transition government, he officially remained Prime Minister, while Peres became the unofficial acting Prime Minister. Peres led the Alignment to its first ever electoral defeat, when Likud under Menachem Begin won sufficient seats to form a coalition that excluded the left. After only a month on top, Peres assumed the role of opposition leader. After turning back a comeback bid by Rabin in 1980, Peres led his party to another, narrower, loss in the 1981 elections. In the 1984 elections, the Alignment won more seats than any other party but failed to muster the majority of 61 mandates needed to form a left-wing coalition. Alignment and Likud agreed to an unusual "rotation" arrangement, or unity government, in which Peres would serve as Prime Minister and the Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir would be Foreign Minister, swapping positions mid-way through the term.[10] A highlight of this time in office was a trip to Morocco to confer with King Hassan II.[29]

As part of the deal, after two years Peres and Shamir traded places, and in 1986 Peres became foreign minister. In 1988 the Alignment, led by Peres, suffered another narrow defeat. He agreed to renew the coalition with the Likud, this time conceding the premiership to Shamir for the entire term. In the national unity government of 1988–90, Peres served as Vice Premier and Minister of Finance. He and the Alignment finally left the government in 1990, after "the dirty trick" – a failed bid to form a narrow government based on a coalition of the Alignment, small leftist factions and ultra-orthodox parties.[30]


Shimon Peres (left) with Yitzhak Rabin (center) and King Hussein of Jordan (right), prior to signing the Israel–Jordan peace treaty.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureates for 1994 in Oslo. From left to right: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

From 1990 Peres led the opposition in the Knesset until, in early 1992, he was defeated in the first primary elections of the new Israeli Labor Party (which had been formed by the consolidation of the Alignment into a single unitary party) by Yitzhak Rabin, whom he had replaced fifteen years earlier. Peres remained active in politics, however, serving as Rabin's foreign minister from 1992.[10]

Peres and Rabin worked with Yasser Arafat's PLO organization to reach the Oslo Accords, which were finalized in Oslo, Norway on August 20, 1993, and subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, DC on September 13, 1993. This achievement won Peres, Rabin, and Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize. After Rabin's assassination in 1995, Peres served as Acting Prime Minister and Acting Defense Minister for seven months until the 1996 elections, during which he attempted to maintain the momentum of the peace process.

On October 26, 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the Israel–Jordan peace treaty,[31] which had been initiated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. The ceremony was held in the Arava valley of Israel, north of Eilat and near the Jordanian border. Prime Minister Rabin and Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali signed the treaty and the President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with King Hussein. US President Bill Clinton observed, accompanied by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The treaty brought an end to 46 years of official war between Israel and Jordan.

On April 11, 1996, Prime Minister Peres initiated Operation Grapes of Wrath,[32] which was triggered by Hezbollah Katyusha rockets fired into Israel in response to the killing of two Lebanese by an IDF missile. Israel conducted massive air raids and extensive shelling in southern Lebanon. 106 Lebanese civilians died in the shelling of Qana, when a UN compound was hit in an Israeli shelling.[33]

Shimon Peres with U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House, April 1996.

Peres was narrowly defeated by Benjamin Netanyahu in the first direct elections for Prime Minister in 1996. In 1997 he did not seek re-election as Labor Party leader and was replaced by Ehud Barak. Barak rebuffed Peres's attempt to secure the position of party president and upon forming a government in 1999 appointed Peres to the minor post of Minister of Regional Co-operatio].[34]

In 2000, Peres ran for a seven-year term as Israel's President, a ceremonial head of state position which usually authorizes the selection of Prime Minister. Had he won, as was expected, he would have been the first ex-Prime Minister to be elected President. However, he lost to Likud candidate Moshe Katsav. Katsav's victory was attributed in part to evidence that Peres planned to use the position to support the increasingly unpopular peace processes of the government of Ehud Barak.[35]

Following Ehud Barak's defeat by Ariel Sharon in the 2001 direct election for Prime Minister, Peres made yet another comeback. He led Labor into a national unity government with Sharon's Likud and secured the post of Foreign Minister. The formal leadership of the party passed to Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, and in 2002 to Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna. Peres was much criticized on the left for clinging to his position as Foreign Minister in a government that was not seen as advancing the peace process, despite his own dovish stance. He left office only when Labor resigned from the government in advance of the 2003 elections. After the party under the leadership of Mitzna suffered a crushing defeat, Peres again emerged as interim leader. He led the party into a coalition with Sharon once more at the end of 2004 when the latter's support of "disengagement" from Gaza presented a diplomatic program Labor could support.

Peres won the chairmanship of the Labor Party in 2005, in advance of the 2006 elections. As party leader, he favored pushing off the elections for as long as possible. He claimed that an early election would jeopardize both the September 2005 Gaza withdrawal plan and the standing of the party in a national unity government with Sharon. However, the majority pushed for an earlier date, as younger members of the party, among them Ophir Pines-Paz and Isaac Herzog, overtook established leaders such as Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Haim Ramon in the party ballot to divide up government portfolios. Peres continually led in the polls, defying predictions that rivals would overtake him. However, he lost the leadership election with 40 percent to Peretz's 42.4 percent.[36]

Support for Sharon and Kadima

On November 30, 2005 Peres announced that he was leaving the Labor Party to support Ariel Sharon and his new Kadima party. In the immediate aftermath of Sharon's debilitating stroke, there was speculation that Peres might take over as leader of the party; most senior Kadima leaders, however, were former members of Likud and indicated their support for Ehud Olmert as Sharon's successor.[37]

Labor reportedly tried to woo Peres back to the fold.[38] However, he announced that he supported Olmert and would remain with Kadima. Peres had previously announced his intention not to run in the March elections. Following Kadima's win in the election, Peres was given the role of Vice Prime Minister and Minister for the Development of the Negev, Galilee and Regional Economy.

Presidency: 2007–2014

Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East (2009)
Shimon Peres meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, 5 May 2009.
Shimon Peres and the Foreign Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, meet in Brasília, 11 November 2009
Shimon Peres addressing a gathering of the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem (2010)

On June 13, 2007, Peres was elected President of the State of Israel by the Knesset. 58 of 120 members of the Knesset voted for him in the first round (whereas 38 voted for Reuven Rivlin, and 21 for Colette Avital). His opponents then backed Peres in the second round and 86 members of the Knesset voted in his favor,[39] while 23 objected. He resigned from his role as a Member of the Knesset the same day, having been a member since November 1959 (except for a three-month period in early 2006), the longest serving in Israeli political history. Peres was sworn in as President on July 15, 2007.

Israel must not only be an asset but a value. A moral, cultural and scientific call for the promotion of man, every man. It must be a good and warm home for Jews who are not Israelis, as well as for Israelis who are not Jews. And it must create equal opportunities for all, without discriminating between religion, nationality, community or sex... I have seen Israel in its most difficult hours and also in moments of achievement and spiritual uplifting. My years place me at an observation point from which can be viewed the scene of our reviving nation, spread out in all its glory... Permit me to remain an optimist. Permit me to be a dreamer of his people. If sometimes the atmosphere is autumnal, and also if today, the day seems suddenly grey, the president Israel has chosen will never tire of encouraging, awakening and reminding - because spring is waiting for us. The spring will definitely come.

Shimon Peres, President's inaugural address, July 2007[7]

In June 2011, he was awarded the honorary title of sheikh by Bedouin dignitaries in Hura for his efforts to achieve Middle East peace. Peres thanks his hosts by saying "This visit has been a pleasure. I am deeply impressed by Hura. You have done more for yourselves than anyone else could have". He told the Mayor of Hura, Muhammad Al-Nabari, and members of Hura's governing council, that they were "part of the Negev. It cannot be developed without developing the Bedouin community, so that it may keep its traditions while joining the modern world."[40]

Peres announced in April 2013 that he would not seek to extend his tenure beyond 2014. His successor, Reuven Rivlin, was elected on June 10, 2014 and took office on July 24, 2014.

Political views

Peres described himself as a "Ben-Gurionist," after his mentor Ben-Gurion.[41]

As a younger man, Peres was considered a "hawk."[42] A protégé of Ben-Gurion and Dayan, he was an early supporter of the West Bank settlers during the 1970s. However, after becoming the leader of his party his stance evolved. Subsequently he was seen as a "dove," and a strong supporter of peace through economic cooperation. While still opposed to talks with the PLO, like all mainstream Israeli leaders in the 1970s and early 1980s, he distanced himself from settlers and spoke of the need for "territorial compromise" over the West Bank and Gaza. For a time he hoped that King Hussein of Jordan could be Israel's Arab negotiating partner rather than Yasser Arafat. Peres met secretly with Hussein in London in 1987 and reached a framework agreement with him, but this was rejected by Israel's then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir. Shortly afterward the First Intifada erupted, and whatever plausibility King Hussein had as a potential Israeli partner in resolving the fate of the West Bank evaporated. Subsequently, Peres gradually moved closer to support for talks with the PLO, although he avoided making an outright commitment to this policy until 1993.

Peres was perhaps more closely associated with the Oslo Accords than any other Israeli politician (Rabin included) with the possible exception of his own protégé, Yossi Beilin. He remained an adamant supporter of the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian Authority since their inception, despite the First Intifada and the al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Intifada). However, Peres supported Ariel Sharon's military policy of operating the Israeli Defense Forces to thwart suicide bombings.

On the issue of the nuclear program of Iran and the supposed existential threat this posed for Israel, Peres stated, "I am not in favor of a military attack on Iran, but we must quickly and decisively establish a strong, aggressive coalition of nations that will impose painful economic sanctions on Iran", adding "Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear weapons should keep the entire world from sleeping soundly." In the same speech, Peres compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his call to "wipe Israel off the map" to the genocidal threats to European Jewry made by Adolf Hitler in the years prior to the Holocaust.[43] In an interview with Army Radio on May 8, 2006 he remarked that "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map."[44]


On Peres' death, tributes were paid from leaders across the world. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said: "I was extremely lucky to have met this extraordinary man many times. And every time I admired his courage, patriotism, wisdom, vision and ability to get down to the essence of the most difficult issues."[45] The President of the United States, Barack Obama said: "I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend... He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together."[46] The President of China, Xi Jinping said: "His death is the loss of an old friend for China."[47] Former US President Bill Clinton, who was president when the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn, lauded Peres’ vision: "His critics called him a dreamer. That he was — a lucid, eloquent dreamer until the very end. Thank goodness."[48]

Peres was described by The New York Times as having done "more than anyone to build up his country’s formidable military might, then [having] worked as hard to establish a lasting peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors."[10]

Awards and recognition


  • "Many people say I was wrong when I talked about the new Middle East and the need for more ties with our Arab neighbors. I’m not wrong. It’s just taking more time than I thought." 2012, Bloomberg.[48]
  • "Sometimes people ask me, ‘What is the greatest achievement you have reached in your lifetime?’ So I reply that there was a great painter named Mordecai Ardon, who was asked which picture was the most beautiful he had ever painted. Ardon replied, ‘The picture I will paint tomorrow.’ That is also my answer." May 2011, Maariv.[51]
  • "I’ve been controversial for most of my life. Suddenly, I’ve become popular. I don’t know when I was wrong, then or now." September 2007, Haaretz.[51]
  • "For peace, one must remember: As a bird cannot fly with one wing, as a man cannot applaud with one hand, so a country cannot make peace just with one side, with itself. For peace, we need the two of us." June 1996, Hebrew University in Jerusalem.[51]

Major Publications


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shimon Peres Knesset Members. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Shimon Peres, Biographical The Nobel Prize. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Shimon Peres Biography Academy of Achievement. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  4. Peres: Not such a bad record after all The Jerusalem Post, November 10, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  5. Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe (HarperCollins, 2016).
  6. Hana Levi Julian, President Shimon Peres Agrees to Keep Shabbat—Once Arutz Sheva, July 12, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Shimon Peres, It is true that we have erred, but a bright spring awaits The Guardian, July 15, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Lawrence Joffe, Shimon Peres obituary The Guardian, September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  9. Address by Peres to German Bundestag Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 27, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Marilyn Berger, Shimon Peres Dies at 93; Built Up Israel’s Defense and Sought Peace The New York Times, September 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  11. Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History (Harper, 2008, ISBN 978-0688123635).
  12. Michael Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres: The Biography (Random House, 2007, ISBN 978-1400062928).
  13. Poems turn to song as ex-leader turns 86 Associated Press, August 17, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Greer Fay Cashman, Sonia Peres, president's wife, dies at 87 in TA The Jerusalem Post, January 20, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  15. Nirit Anderman, Shimon Peres remembers 'very strong, very beautiful' relative Lauren Bacall Haaretz, August 13, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  16. Peter Baker, Shimon Peres, Former Prime Minister of Israel, Suffers a Stroke The New York Times, September 13, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  17. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Peres's condition dramatically declines; family urged to say last goodbyes The Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  18. Peter Beaumont, Shimon Peres, Nobel winner and giant of Israeli politics, dies at 93 The Guardian, September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  19. Shimon Peres funeral: Leaders hail legacy of former Israeli leader BBC, September 30, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  20. Benny Morris, Making History Tablet Magazine, July 26, 2010.
  21. Guy Ziv, Shimon Peres and the French-Israeli Alliance, 1954–9 Journal of Contemporary History 45(2):406–429.
  22. Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (Columbia University Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0231104838).
  23. Keith Kyle, Suez: Britain's End of Empire in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2011, ISBN 978-1848855335).
  24. Diane B. Kunz, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis (University of North Carolina Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0807865583), 108.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez (Book Sales, 1983, ISBN 978-0671410100).
  26. Avi Shlaim, The Protocol of Sevres 1956 Anatomy of a War Plot International Affairs, 73(3) (1997): 509-530. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  27. Peter Wilby, Eden (Haus Publishing, 2006).
  28. Bernard Reich, Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990), 406.
  29. Gregory S. Mahler (ed.), Israel after Begin (SUNY Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0791403686).
  30. Assaf Meydani, Political Transformations and Political Entrepreneurs: Israel in Comparative Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN 978-1349381265).
  31. Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  32. Helena Cobban, Israel's wars of choice push its politics further to the right Al Jazeera, July 22, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  33. Lazar Berman, Bennett defends actions during 1996 Lebanon operation The Times of Israel, January 5, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  34. Raphael Ahren, Beloved abroad, polarizing at home, Peres was the peace-making face of Israel, The Times of Israel, September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  35. Roger East and Richard Thomas, Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders (Psychology Press, 2003, ISBN 978-1857431261).
  36. Israel Labour head to meet Sharon BBC News, November 10, 2005. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  37. Yossi Verter, Under Peres, Kadima would win 42 seats; under Olmert – 40 Haaretz, January 6, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  38. Mazal Mualem, Yossi Verter, and Nir Hasson, Shimon Peres calls on his supporters to vote Kadima Haaretz, January 9, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  39. Peres elected Israel's president BBC News, June 13, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  40. Ronen Medzini, Peres becomes Sheikh YNetNews, June 14, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  41. Gal Beckerman, Secrets of Ben-Gurion's Leadership Forward, December 5, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  42. Edwin Stepp, Shimon Peres: From Hawk to Dove Vision, Winter 2000. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  43. Anshel Pfeffer, Peres: Fight terror – reduce global dependence on oil Haaretz, May 5, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  44. Peres says that Iran "can also be wiped off the map" Associated Press, May 8, 2006.
  45. Condolences on the death of Shimon Peres September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  46. Statement by the President on the Death of Former Israeli President Shimon Peres September 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  47. Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed condolences to Israeli President following the death of Shimon Peres, September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Gwen Ackerman, Shimon Peres, Israel’s Ardent Champion of Peace, Dead at 93 Bloomberg, September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  49. 2012 Recipients The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  50. H.R.2939 - To award the Congressional Gold Medal to Shimon Peres 113th Congress (2013-2014). Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Shimon Peres's Reflections on War, Peace and Life The New York Times, September 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2022.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Bar-Zohar, Michael. Shimon Peres: The Biography. Random House, 2007. ISBN 978-1400062928
  • Cohen, Avner. Israel and the Bomb. Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0231104838
  • East, Roger, and Richard Thomas. Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Psychology Press, 2003. ISBN 978-1857431261
  • Gilbert, Martin. Israel: A History. Harper, 2008. ISBN 978-0688123635
  • Golan, Matti. Road to Peace: A Biography of Shimon Peres. Time Warner Paperbacks, 1989. ISBN 978-0446514255
  • Kunz, Diane B. The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis. University of North Carolina Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0807865583
  • Kyle, Keith. Suez: Britain's End of Empire in the Middle East. I.B. Tauris, 2011. ISBN 978-1848855335
  • Mahler, Gregory S. (ed.) Israel after Begin. SUNY Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0791403686
  • Meydani, Assaf. Political Transformations and Political Entrepreneurs: Israel in Comparative Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. ISBN 978-1349381265
  • Neff, Donald. Warriors at Suez. Book Sales, 1983. ISBN 978-0671410100
  • Reich, Bernard. Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990. ISBN 978-0313262135
  • Tal, David (ed.). The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East. Routledge, 2001. ISBN 978-0714643946
  • Telushkin, Joseph. Rebbe. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 978-0062318992
  • Wilby, Peter. Eden. Haus Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-1904950653
  • Yair, Auron. The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide. Transaction Publishers, 2003. ISBN 978-0765801913

External links

All links retrieved January 27, 2023.

Party Political Offices
Preceded by:
Yitzhak Rabin
Leader of the Alignment
Succeeded by: Yitzhak Rabin
Leader of the Labor Party
Succeeded by: Ehud Barak
Preceded by:
Amram Mitzna
Leader of the Labor Party
Succeeded by: Amir Peretz
Political offices
Preceded by:
Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel

Succeeded by: Menachem Begin
Preceded by:
Yitzhak Shamir
Prime Minister of Israel
Succeeded by: Yitzhak Shamir
Preceded by:
Yitzhak Rabin
Prime Minister of Israel
Succeeded by: Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by:
Moshe Katsav
President of Israel
Succeeded by: Reuven Rivlin


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