Shimon Peres — 1923-2016
by Sarah Ann Haves
As dignitaries arrive from all over the world, to pay their respects to one of Israel’s greatest leaders, Shimon Peres, it’s an opportunity to reflect on who the man was in his life, and what he contributed to the State of Israel before his death.
Perhaps, the greatest legacy he leaves behind is that he was one of the founding fathers of the modern state of Israel. He worked diligently in many areas of government, especially helping Israel to become a military and nuclear power. He formed alliances with world powers, putting Israel on the diplomatic world stage. He spoke often with heads of state regarding the importance of maintaining Israel’s national security and its economic growth.
His career started before the state of Israel was born 68 years ago. Even when he “retired” from political service, in 2014, Peres remained active as the head of the Peres Center for Peace. This writer was invited to hear him speak during Purim this year, and as always, his message to mostly young people was the hope of “peace.”
|In his relentless quest
for…peace, Peres was
a controversial figure…
In his relentless quest for that “peace”, Peres was a controversial figure playing the role of mastermind behind the Oslo Accords, which he negotiated secretly, getting Knesset approval quickly, before the signing of the accords at the White House on September 13, 1993. It is interesting to note that many Israelis have come to see the Oslo Accords as a failure in Israel’s efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.
While Peres gave undying hope to the younger generation, citizens did not always trust his compromising efforts towards a solution that would satisfy both the Palestinians and Israelis and solve the on-going conflict. Others were concerned with his vision for a New World Order. This writer attended several of the gatherings that Peres hosted that brought presidents of nations together in Israel to discuss globalization in areas of politics, diplomacy and economics. The gatherings were not that successful in achieving genuine unity and developing partnerships.
Peres was not always as popular at home as he was abroad. He never won a national election in Israel, yet managed to serve as prime minister (through rotation governments; and, temporarily after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin). He also served as foreign minister, defense minister, president, and in many other government appointments.
President Peres will be most remembered in recent years for bringing dignity back to that office (after former President Moshe Katsav left in disgrace, charged with sexual offenses). It was in his role as the ninth Israeli president that Peres flourished as a man of the people – both in Israel and within the international community. Tirelessly, he offered his wisdom and experience to heads of state, diplomats, opinion makers, journalists, celebrities and the general public.
|Perez was one of
Peres was one of Israel’s greatest promotors. He was always informed about the most modern technology available to mankind, and he encouraged Israelis to take risks and explore avenues of innovation and entrepreneurship. He was responsible for promoting Israel as the Start-Up Nation, which drew many foreign leaders to come and do business with the Jewish State. Today, one of the reasons Israel is not isolated among the nations is because so many in the international community have come to admire and respect Israel for its brainpower in tech sectors; in research and development; in science; in medicine; in cyber technology, etc. Peres was an expert in relating to dignitaries in areas of soft-diplomacy…. a key policy of the Israeli government to deepen relationships between Israel and other nations.
Today, the Arab world is experiencing major upheaval, especially in the Middle East, where Peres envisioned Israelis living peacefully with their neighbors. This is one of the sad moments of reality as citizens mourn the death of Shimon Peres.
Still facing criticism into his 90’s, Peres raised some eyebrows in his continued meetings with Pope Francis. As the two men drew closer in friendship, working towards interfaith peace through religious tolerance, some people of faith were alarmed that these efforts could lend themselves to a constraint of individual religious freedoms rather than the development of mutual respect.
In all his ups and downs, as a major figure in Israeli politics, one thing cannot be denied, Peres worked determinedly towards Israel becoming a state that would successfully reach its destiny as a “light to the nations.” Regardless of political affiliation; of liberal or conservative ideologies; today both Israelis and the global community, respectively, remember Shimon Peres.
From the time of his major stroke on September 13, 2016, until the time of his death, 15 days later on September 28, 2016, the people of Israel were praying and preparing for the possibility he would not survive.
There is a certain sadness that prevails in his passing, as the nation mourns. Going into the Fall Feasts — remembering the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year; blowing the shofar to bring in the Feast of Trumpets; these celebrations will be more subdued this year, as the family of Shimon Peres sits “shiva” and as others remember a man who was called upon to help shape the Jewish nation and steer it towards its future destiny.
Jesus said, in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(c) 2015 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.