"SE PROMENER D'UN PAS AGILE AU TEMPLE DE LA VÉRITÉ LA ROUTE EN ÉTAIT DIFFICILE" VOLTAIRE
mars 29, 2023
En hommage à Shimon Pérès
Voici plus d’un mois qu’Israël est orphelin de Shimon Peres.
Voici plus d’un mois que le Moyen-Orient a perdu une des dernières- sinon la dernière- figures emblématiques de la paix.
Voici 21 ans, jour pour jour, qu’Itzhak Rabin, récipiendaire avec Yasser Arafat lui aussi, du prix Nobel de la Paix, a été assassiné par un sauvageon extrémiste.
Il m’a semblé juste de clore en ce jour ces hommages par le magnifique et émouvant témoignage rendu par Barak Obama, Président des États-Unis, à Shimon Peres.
Je reproduis ici le texte intégral du discours d’Obama et sa version audio, ainsi que celui de la remise de la Médaille de la Liberté à Shimon Pérès en 2012.
Il s’agit là de la plus haute distinction américaine. Rares sont les dirigeants étrangers à en avoir été honorés. Ceci fera taire ceux qui ne cessent de critiquer Obama comme étant hostile à Israël.
Pérès, tout comme Rabin, et tout comme Sharon, a eu des funérailles mondiales. 70 chefs d’État sont venus lui rendre un dernier hommage. À cette aune, il est probable que seuls Churchill, Kennedy et de Gaulle ont fait mieux.
J’ai rajouté un article de Yossi Beilin qui fut l’un des plus proches collaborateurs de Pérès et qui fut son poisson pilote dans la préparation des accords d’Oslo.
Puisse l’exemple de Rabin, Sharon et Pérès inspirer la politique israélienne aujourd’hui.
Neuilly le 04/11/16
The WHITE HOUSE President Barack Obama
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2016
Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former Israeli President Shimon Peres
11:14 A.M. IDT PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel: I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.
A free life, in a homeland regained. A secure life, in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life, in friendship with nations who can be counted on as allies, always. A bountiful life, driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams. This was Shimon Peres’s life. This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century, and it was made possible by a founding generation that counts Shimon as one of its own.
Shimon once said, “The message of the Jewish people to mankind is that faith and moral vision can triumph over all adversity.” For Shimon, that moral vision was rooted in an honest reckoning of the world as it is. Born in the shtetl, he said he felt, “surrounded by a sea of thick and threatening forests.” When his family got the chance to go to Palestine, his beloved grandfather’s parting words were simple: “Shimon, stay a Jew.” Propelled with that faith, he found his home. He found his purpose. He found his life’s work. But he was still a teenager when his grandfather was burned alive by the Nazis in the town where Shimon was born. The synagogue in which he prayed became an inferno. The railroad tracks that had carried him toward the Promised Land also delivered so many of his people to death camps.
And so from an early age, Shimon bore witness to the cruelty that human beings could inflict on each other, the ways that one group of people could dehumanize another; the particular madness of anti-Semitism, which has run like a stain through history. That understanding of man’s ever-present sinfulness would steel him against hardship and make him vigilant against threats to Jewry around the world.
But that understanding would never harden his heart. It would never extinguish his faith. Instead, it broadened his moral imagination, and gave him the capacity to see all people as deserving of dignity and respect. It helped him see not just the world as it is, but the world as it should be.
What Shimon did to shape the story of Israel is well-chronicled. Starting on the kibbutz he founded with his love Sonya, he began the work of building a model community. Ben Gurion called him to serve the Haganah at headquarters to make sure that the Jewish people had the armaments and the organization to secure their freedom. After independence, surrounded by enemies who denied Israel’s existence and sought to drive it into the sea, the child who had wanted to be a “poet of stars” became a man who built Israel’s defense industry, who laid the foundation for the formidable armed forces that won Israel’s wars. His skill secured Israel’s strategic position. His boldness sent Israeli commandos to Entebbe, and rescued Jews from Ethiopia. His statesmanship built an unbreakable bond with the United States of America and so many other countries.
His contributions didn’t end there. Shimon also showed what people can do when they harness reason and science to a common cause. He understood that a country without many natural resources could more than make up for it with the talents of its people. He made hard choices to roll back inflation and climb up from a terrible economic crisis. He championed the promise of science and technology to make the desert bloom, and turned this tiny country into a central hub of the digital age, making life better not just for people here, but for people around the world.
Indeed, Shimon’s contribution to this nation is so fundamental, so pervasive, that perhaps sometimes they can be overlooked. For a younger generation, Shimon was probably remembered more for a peace process that never reached its endpoint. They would listen to critics on the left who might argue that Shimon did not fully acknowledge the failings of his nation, or perhaps more numerous critics on the right who argued that he refused to see the true wickedness of the world, and called him naïve.
But whatever he shared with his family or his closest friends, to the world he brushed off the critics. And I know from my conversations with him that his pursuit of peace was never naïve. Every Yom HaShoah, he read the names of the family that he lost. As a young man, he had fed his village by working in the fields during the day, but then defending it by carrying a rifle at night. He understood, in this war-torn region, where too often Arab youth are taught to hate Israel from an early age — he understood just how hard peace would be. I’m sure he was alternatively angry and bemused to hear the same critics, who called him hopelessly naïve, depend on the defense architecture that he himself had helped to build.
I don’t believe he was naïve. But he understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors. “We won them all,” he said of Israel’s wars. “But we did not win the greatest victory that we aspired to: release from the need to win victories.”
And just as he understood the practical necessity of peace, Shimon believed that Israel’s exceptionalism was rooted not only in fidelity to the Jewish people, but to the moral and ethical vision, the precepts of his Jewish faith. “The Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people,” he would say. “From the very first day we are against slaves and masters.”
Out of the hardships of the diaspora, he found room in his heart for others who suffered. He came to hate prejudice with the passion of one who knows how it feels to be its target. Even in the face of terrorist attacks, even after repeated disappointments at the negotiation table, he insisted that as human beings, Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews, and must therefore be equal in self-determination. Because of his sense of justice, his analysis of Israel’s security, his understanding of Israel’s meaning, he believed that the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians, too, had a state of their own.
Of course, we gather here in the knowledge that Shimon never saw his dream of peace fulfilled. The region is going through a chaotic time. Threats are ever present. And yet, he did not stop dreaming, and he did not stop working. By the time that I came to work with Shimon, he was in the twilight of his years — although he might not admit it. I would be the 10th U.S. President since John F. Kennedy to sit down with Shimon; the 10th to fall prey to his charms. I think of him sitting in the Oval Office, this final member of Israel’s founding generation, under the portrait of George Washington, telling me stories from the past, but more often talking with enthusiasm of the present — his most recent lecture, his next project, his plans for the future, the wonders of his grandchildren.
In many ways, he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I’ve had the honor to meet — men like Nelson Mandela; women like Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth — leaders who have seen so much, whose lives span such momentous epochs, that they find no need to posture or traffic in what’s popular in the moment; people who speak with depth and knowledge, not in sound bites. They find no interest in polls or fads.
And like these leaders, Shimon could be true to his convictions even if they cut against the grain of current opinion. He knew, better than the cynic, that if you look out over the arc of history, human beings should be filled not with fear but with hope. I’m sure that’s why he was so excited about technology — because for him, it symbolized the march of human progress. And it’s why he loved so much to talk about young people — because he saw young people unburdened by the prejudices of the past. It’s why he believed in miracles — because in Israel, he saw a miracle come true.
As Americans and Israelis, we often talk about the unbreakable bonds between our nations. And, yes, these bonds encompass common interests — vital cooperation that makes both our nations more secure. But today we are reminded that the bonds which matter most run deeper. Anchored in a Judeo-Christian tradition, we believe in the irreducible value of every human being. Our nations were built on that idea. They were built in large part by stubborn idealists and striving immigrants, including those who had fled war and fled oppression. Both our nations have flaws that we have not always fixed, corners of our history which date back to our founding that we do not always squarely address. But because our founders planted not just flags in the eternal soil, but also planted the seeds of democracy, we have the ability to always pursue a better world. We have the capacity to do what is right.
As an American, as a Christian, a person partly of African descent, born in Hawaii — a place that could not be further than where Shimon spent his youth — I took great pleasure in my friendship with this older, wiser man. We shared a love of words and books and history. And perhaps, like most politicians, we shared too great a joy in hearing ourselves talk. But beyond that, I think our friendship was rooted in the fact that I could somehow see myself in his story, and maybe he could see himself in mine. Because for all of our differences, both of us had lived such unlikely lives. It was so surprising to see the two of us where we had started, talking together in the White House, meeting here in Israel. And I think both of us understood that we were here only because in some way we reflected the magnificent story of our nations.
Shimon’s story, the story of Israel, the experience of the Jewish people, I believe it is universal. It’s the story of a people who, over so many centuries in the wilderness, never gave up on that basic human longing to return home. It’s the story of a people who suffered the boot of oppression and the shutting of the gas chamber’s door, and yet never gave up on a belief in goodness. And it’s the story of a man who was counted on, and then often counted out, again and again, and who never lost hope.
Shimon Peres reminds us that the State of Israel, like the United States of America, was not built by cynics. We exist because people before us refused to be constrained by the past or the difficulties of the present. And Shimon Peres was never cynical. It is that faith, that optimism, that belief — even when all the evidence is to the contrary — that tomorrow can be better, that makes us not just honor Shimon Peres, but love him.
The last of the founding generation is now gone. Shimon accomplished enough things in his life for a thousand men. But he understood that it is better to live to the very end of his time on Earth with a longing not for the past but for the dreams that have not yet come true — an Israel that is secure in a just and lasting peace with its neighbors. And so now this work is in the hand of Israel’s next generation, in the hands of Israel’s next generation and its friends.
Like Joshua, we feel the weight of responsibility that Shimon seemed to wear so lightly. But we draw strength from his example and the fact that he believed in us — even when we doubted ourselves.
Scripture tells us that before his death, Moses said, “I call upon heaven and earth to bear witness this day that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”
Uvacharta Bachayim. Choose life. For Shimon, let us choose life, as he always did. Let us make his work our own. May God bless his memory. And may God bless this country, and this world, that he loved so dearly.
Shimon: Todah Rabah Chaver Yakar.
END 11:37 A.M. IDT
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2012
Remarks by President Obama and President Peres of Israel at Presentation of the Medal of Freedom
7:12 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good evening, everybody. Please have a seat. On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House on this beautiful summer evening.
The United States is fortunate to have many allies and partners around the world. Of course, one of our strongest allies, and one of our closest friends, is the State of Israel. And no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance and to bring our two nations closer as the leader that we honor tonight — our friend, Shimon Peres. (Applause.)
Among many special guests this evening we are especially grateful for the presence of Shimon’s children — Tzvia, Yoni and Chemi, and their families. Please rise so we can give you a big round of applause. (Applause.)
We have here someone representing a family that has given so much for peace, a voice for peace that carries on with the legacy of her father, Yitzhak Rabin — and that’s Dalia. We are grateful to have you here. (Applause.) Leaders who’ve helped ensure that the United States is a partner for peace — and in particular, I’m so pleased to see Secretary Madeleine Albright, who is here this evening. (Applause.) And one of the great moral voices of our time and an inspiration to us all — Professor Elie Wiesel. (Applause.)
The man, the life that we honor tonight is nothing short of extraordinary. Shimon took on his first assignment in Ben-Gurion’s Haganah, during the struggle for Israeli independence in 1947, when he was still in his early 20s. He ran for President of Israel — and won — when he was 83. (Laughter.)
By the way, I should mention that I just learned that his son-in-law is also his doctor. And I asked for all his tips. (Laughter.)
Shimon has been serving his nation — and strengthening the bonds between our two nations — for some 65 years, the entire life of the State of Israel. Ben-Gurion and Meir, Begin and Rabin — these giants of Israel’s founding generation now belong to the ages. But tonight, we have the rare privilege in history — and that’s to be in the presence of a true Founding Father.
Shimon, you have never stopped serving. And in two months we’ll join our Israeli friends in marking another milestone — your 89th birthday. (Applause.)
Now, I think Shimon would be the first to tell you that in the ups and downs of Israeli politics, he has been counted out more than once. But in him we see the essence of Israel itself — an indomitable spirit that will not be denied. He’s persevered, serving in virtually every position — in dozens of cabinets, some two dozen ministerial posts, defense minister, finance minister, foreign minister three times. Try that, Madeleine. (Laughter.) And now, the 9th President of Israel. And I think President Clinton would agree with me on this — Shimon Peres is the ultimate « Comeback Kid. » (Laughter.)
And he’s still going — on Facebook, on You Tube — (laughter) — connecting with young people; looking to new technologies, always « facing tomorrow. » Recently, he was asked, « What do you want your legacy to be? » And Shimon replied, « Well, it’s too early for me to think about it. » (Laughter.)
Shimon, you earned your place in history long ago. And I know your work is far from done. But tonight is another example of how it’s never too early for the rest of us to celebrate your legendary life.
Shimon teaches us to never settle for the world as it is. We have a vision for the world as it ought to be, and we have to strive for it. Perhaps Shimon’s spirit comes from what he calls the Jewish « dissatisfaction gene. » (Laughter.) « A good Jew, » he says, « can never be satisfied. » There is a constant impulse to question, to do even better. So, too, with nations — we must keep challenging ourselves, keep striving for our ideals, for the future that we know is possible.
Shimon knows the necessity of strength. As Ben-Gurion said, « An Israel capable of defending herself, which cannot be destroyed, can bring peace nearer. » And so he’s worked with every American President since John F. Kennedy. That’s why I’ve worked with Prime Minister Netanyahu to ensure that the security cooperation between the United States and Israel is closer and stronger than it has ever been — because the security of the State of Israel is non-negotiable, and the bonds between us are unbreakable. (Applause.)
Of course, Shimon also knows that a nation’s security depends not just on the strength of its arms, but upon the righteousness of its deeds — its moral compass. He knows, as Scripture teaches, that we must not only seek peace, but we must pursue peace. And so it has been the cause of his life — peace, security and dignity, for Israelis and Palestinians and all Israel’s Arab neighbors. And even in the darkest moments, he’s never lost hope in — as he puts it — « a Middle East that is not a killing field but a field of creativity and growth. »
At times, some have seen his hope and called Shimon Peres a dreamer. And they are right. Just look at his life. The dream of generations, after 2,000 years, to return to Israel, the historic homeland of the Jewish people — Shimon lived it. The dream of independence, a Jewish State of Israel — he helped win it. The dream of an Israel strong enough to defend itself, by itself, against any threat, backed by an ironclad alliance with the United States of America — he helped build it.
The dream of making the desert bloom — he and his wife Sonya were part of the generation that achieved it. The dream of the high-tech Israel we see today — he helped spark it. That historic handshake on the White House lawn — he helped to create it. That awful night in Tel Aviv, when he and Yitzhak sang a Song for Peace, and the grief that followed — he guided his people through it. The dream of democracy in the Middle East and the hopes of a new generation, including so many young Arabs — he knows we must welcome it and nurture it.
So, yes, Shimon Peres — born in a shtetl in what was then Poland, who rose to become President of Israel — he is a dreamer. And rightly so. For he knows what we must never forget: With faith in ourselves and courage in our hearts, no dream is too big, no vision is beyond our reach.
And so it falls on each of us — to all of us — to keep searching, to keep striving for that future that we know is possible, for the peace our children deserve.
And so it is a high honor for me to bestow this statesman, this warrior for peace, America’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And I’d ask you to please join me in welcoming President Peres to the presentation. (Applause.)
(The citation is read.)
MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States of America awards this Presidential Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres. An ardent advocate for Israel’s security and the cause of lasting peace, Shimon Peres has devoted his life to public service. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the profound role he played in Middle East peace talks that led to the Oslo Accords, and he continues to serve the Israeli people with courage and dignity. Through his unwavering devotion to his country and the cooperation of nations, he has strengthened the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Before inviting remarks from President Peres, I’d like to conclude by inviting you all to join me in a toast, with the words that Shimon spoke when he accepted the Peace Prize in Oslo:
« From my earliest youth, I have known that while one is obliged to plan with care the stages of one’s journey, one is entitled to dream, and keep dreaming, of its destination. A man may feel as old as his years, yet as young as his dreams. »
Shimon, to all our friends here tonight, and to our fellow citizens across America and Israel — may we never lose sight of our destination. Shalom, and may we always be as young as our dreams.
I have one last order of business to attend to. Before I ask our recipient to come to the stage — while I began my remarks I was not yet sure whether one more — or two more guests of honor had arrived. I think it would be entirely appropriate at this point for us also to acknowledge two people who have constantly sought to achieve peace, not only in the Middle East but all around the world — one of them happens to be traveling a lot these days on my behalf — (laughter) — and I am extraordinarily grateful to them. Shimon, I know that you’re pleased to have two very dear friends to help celebrate this evening. President Bill Clinton. (Applause.) And our outstanding Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)
Ladies and gentlemen, President Shimon Peres. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT PERES: Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, it’s so hard to speak after you, my God. (Laughter.) You are so moving. But thank you. (Laughter.)
I really was profoundly moved by your decision to award me the Presidential Medal of Freedom. To receive it is an honor. To receive it from you, Mr. President, in the presence of my dear family, is a privilege that I shall cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
It is a testament to the historic friendship between our two nations. When I was really young — not like now — (laughter) — the founder of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, called me to work with him. For 65 years, inspired by his leadership, I tried to gather strength for my country, pursue peace for my people. I learned that public service is a privilege that must be based on moral foundations.
I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor. With this moving gesture, you are paying, Mr. President, tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, fought for a state of their own — a state that would give them a shelter; a state that they could really defend by themselves.
So, Mr. President, you are honoring the pioneers who built homes on bombed mountains, on shifting land; fighters who sacrificed their life for their country. On their behalf, I thank you. I thank America for days of concern, for sleepless nights, caring for our safety, caring for our future.
Tonight, Mr. President, you kindly invited outstanding personalities whose commitment to Israel is nothing less than heroic. I offer them the eternal gratitude of my people. Present here, for me is a very moving presence is Dalia Rabin, the daughter of my partner, the unforgettable Yitzhak Rabin, who gave his life for peace.
Mr. President, you have pledged a lasting friendship for Israel. You stated that Israel’s security is sacrosanct for you. So you pledged; so you act. So you are acting as a great leader, as a champion for peace. Thank you again. (Applause.)
Dear friends, Israel sincerely admires the United States for being a land of the free, a home of the brave, a nation of generosity. A world without the United States, without the values of the United States, would have been chaotic. Moses began his journey to freedom by demanding, « let my people go. » The prophet Isaiah promised nations will take up swords against nations. A biblical promise became a grand American reality, first and foremost in human annals.
When the Liberty Bell rang in Philadelphia, it resonated throughout the world. A tired world was surprised to witness, contrary to its experience, a great nation becoming greater by giving, not by taking; by making generosity the wisdom of policy, and freedom as its heart — freedom from oppression, from persecution, freedom from violence and evil, freedom from discrimination and ignorance; liberty that does not fear liberty, liberty that doesn’t interfere with the liberty of others. You introduced a constitution based on balance, not on force.
Liberty is also the soul of the Jewish heritage. We didn’t give up our values, even when we were facing furnaces and gas chambers. We lived as Jews. We died as Jews. And we rose again as free Jewish people. We didn’t survive merely to be a passing shadow in history, but as a new genesis, a startup nation again. We are faced with the worst of humanity, but also experience the best of humanity. We shouldn’t forget either of the two. When we discovered that we were short of land and water, we realized that we had the priceless resource — the courageous, undefeatable human spirit.
We invested in knowledge and turned our attention to the ever-growing promise of science. Unlike land and water, science cannot be conquered by armies or won by wars. In fact, science can make wars unnecessary. Science provided Israel with the unexpected economic goals — it enabled us to absorb millions of immigrants. Science enabled us to build an agriculture that is ten times the normal yield. It enables us to build an effective defense against armies ten times greater than us. Brave soldiers and sophisticated tools brought us victory in life.
But we remain the people of the book. Yes, my friends, Israel is the living proof that democracy means progress, science means growth, literature and knowledge means enrichment. Israel today is an innovating, pluralistic society where Jews, Christians and Muslims live together in peace. It is not perfect, but it is an example of what may happen in the future.
My friends, we live now in and are now witnessing the departure of one age and the arrival of a new age. The agricultural age lasted for 10,000 years; the scientific age is still fresh. Yet in 50 years, the scientific age has achieved more than the 10,000 years of agriculture. This new age has brought new challenges, new dangers. It generated a global economy but not a global government. It gave birth to horrors of global terrorism without global control.
The danger is today concentrated in Iran. The Iranian people are not our enemies. It is the present leadership that became a threat. It turned Iran into a danger to world peace. It is a leadership that aims to rule the Middle East, spreading terror all over the world. They are trying to build a nuclear bomb. They bring darkness to a world longing for light.
It is our responsibility to our own people, to our friends throughout the world, to posterity, that the Iranian threat must be stopped, and it cannot be delayed.
Mr. President, you worked so hard to build a world coalition to meet this immediate threat. You started, rightly, with economic sanctions. You made it clear — rightly, again — that all options are on the table. Clearly, we support you and your policy. (Applause.)
Friends, extremists are using the conflict of the Palestinians to cover their true ambitions. The majority of the people in the Middle East, in my judgment, are tired of war. In many homes, families still mourn the loss of their loved one. I believe that peace with the Palestinians is most urgent — urgent than ever before. It is necessary. It is crucial. It is possible. A delay may worsen its chances.
I remember that 19 years ago, on the lawn outside this house, President Clinton — dear, Bill — initiated the peace process. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Since then, the Israelis and Palestinians have come a long way together. But still, hard work remains ahead. Israel and the Palestinians are, in my judgment, ripe today to restart the peace process. (Applause.)
A firm basis already exists. A solution of two national states — a Jewish state — Israel; an Arab state — Palestine. The Palestinians are our closest neighbors. I believe they may become our closest friends. (Applause.) Peace with the Palestinians will open ports of peace all around the Mediterranean. The duty of leaders is to pursue freedom ceaselessly, even in the face of hostility, in the face of doubt and disappointment. Just imagine what could be.
Now, a young Arab generation has opened its eyes and stood up against oppression, poverty and corruption. They seek freedom. They need freedom. They understand that freedom begins at home. I pray for their success. I believe that their success may become the success of all of us.
So, President, my vision is an Israel living in full, genuine peace, joining with all the people in the Middle East — former enemies, new friends alike; Jerusalem becoming the capital of peace; an Israel that is a scientific center open to all, serving all without discrimination; a green Israel, an increasingly green Middle East.
My vision is an Israel whose moral code is old as the Ten Commandments tablets, and whose imagination as new as the digital tablets as well. (Applause.) Together, our old and modern vision can help bring tikkun olam. Mr. President, that’s a better world. It will take a long time before we shall achieve it and become satisfied, as you have said. I believe that in the coming decade, Israel will be a center of the latest development in brain research. As the secrets of the human brain are being revealed, people may improve their capacity to choose between right and wrong.
By the way, I am also extremely optimistic about the United States of America. You are going to be the real greatest source of energy in our time. You are introducing a new industry, which is not mass production but individual production. It’s a new revolution. And you put again science on top of your agenda.
I believe in the coming decade, Israel will be also a center of the latest developments in brain research. As the secret of the human brain are revealed, people may improve their capacity to choose between right and wrong. And absent of a global government — government can contribute to world peace.
Dear friends, my greatest hope is that a dawn will arise when every man and women — Israeli or Palestinian, Syrian or Lebanese, young people wherever they are — will wake up in the morning and be able to say to themselves, I am free to be free. Amen. (Applause.)
END 7:43 P.M. EDT
Discours du Président Obama lors des obsèques de Shimon Pérès ancien Président de l’Etat d’Israël
Discours du Président Obama à l’occasion de la remise de la médaille de la Liberté à Shimon Pérès Président de l’Etat d’Israël .
La Presidential Medal of Freedom est la plus haute distinction américaine.
Remembering Shimon Peres, the Israeli patriot who believed in peace
By Yossi Beilin from The Washington Post
Yossi Beilin was a member of the Israeli cabinet under prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak.
Shimon Peres was an optimist. Not somebody who believed that everything would be okay at the end of the day, but someone who trusted that if you do the right things, you can change a situation for the better. Not a daydreamer, not a detached visionary, but a shrewd politician who knew what he wanted and how to achieve it. When I came to know him, it seemed to me obvious that he was a politician with an agenda, but it took me a while to understand that this was unusual. Today I can testify: Most politicians come to office simply in order to be there. When asked why, they say vague things about making their country better. But Peres was in politics for a reason: to ensure that his Israel was safe, both by creating the best means of deterrence and by promoting peaceful relations with our neighbors.
Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv at the age of 93. He was an integral part of Israel’s history, serving as president, prime minister and a handful of cabinet positions over a career that spanned nearly 70 years. (Reuters)
Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv at the age of 93. He was an integral part of Israel’s history, serving as president, prime minister and a handful of cabinet positions over a career that spanned nearly 70 years. Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv at the age of 93.
In his youth, Peres was considered a technocrat. He was a member of a generation born in the 1920s who were sick and tired of the Socialist ideology of David Ben-Gurion’s generation. They were proud of being pragmatic. When he was much older, he was portrayed as a dreamer and even as naive. In the 1960s, he was not ready to use the label “Social Democracy” in the Israeli Labor Party platform, but in 1978, he became the vice president of Socialist International. In the 1970s, he was a staunch supporter of settlements in the occupied territories. Later, as the leader of the Labor Party and the opposition, he became very critical of these settlements and was perceived by many as a dove, and by a few as a traitor. Yigal Amir, the murderer of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, testified that his next target was to be Peres.
In the 1990s, when I told Peres — I was his deputy in the foreign ministry at that time — about my secret efforts to negotiate an interim agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization in Oslo, he could have easily told me that it was a rogue operation without his authorization. But instead he immediately hugged the embryonic idea and went to Rabin to get the green light to continue, because he believed that the project was in Israel’s national interest.
His attitude toward the country was different from mine. I was born in Israel a few weeks after its establishment; he was there at its cradle. For me, the military and economic achievements of my country, as its success at absorbing Jewish immigrants in a number twice the size of its original population in 1948, were a given. For him, everything was a kind of a miracle. If my love for Israel is the love of a son, his was the love of a father, who admires every move made by his child — including those that may not objectively deserve this admiration.
We had our differences. It was difficult for me to understand why he thought that the illegal settlements in the occupied territories could contribute to our security. I was very much against the Israeli Labor Party joining a government of Ariel Sharon — the settlements’ father — and refused to serve in it. But even during that bitter collision, I knew that it was not personal for him. He believed deeply then that joining the government, after Ehud Barak’s defeat, was the only way to save Israel from the kind of ultra-right government that we have today.
He was wiser than most people I know. He had a wonderful sense of humor, even about himself. He had a kind of self-assurance that was never smug but enabled him to take bold decisions, such as the economic plan of 1985, which saved Israel from out-of-control inflation, or the decision to leave Lebanon once we couldn’t find a Lebanese partner for an agreement. Ben-Gurion’s grandson once told me that he thought that his grandfather was the most important Israeli leader, but that Peres was the best prime minister, because he was both a visionary and an executive who knew how to achieve his goals. He was right.
Shimon Peres led a full life of achievements, despite the many difficulties he faced, and became the most famous Israeli in the world. A short time before becoming president, he visited New York. One evening, as he entered a Broadway theater to see a show with friends, there was a standing ovation. At first, he didn’t understand what was happening, thinking the audience was applauding the actors, even though the show hadn’t started. Then he understood that the people stood for him. Shimon Peres, “Mr. Security,” the Israeli patriot who believed in peace, surely deserved it.
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