The first day without Shimon Peres

World leaders gathered last Friday to pay their last respects to Shimon Peres, one of Israel's most influential statesmen who died at 93.
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Shimon Peres was well acquainted with the room used for government cabinet meetings.  He sat here as Prime Minister as well as Cabinet Minister for most of Israeli history’s most crucial decisions. On this day, the cabinet said farewell in a special day of mourning.

“This is the first day for the state of Israel without Shimon Peres,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although many politicians disagreed with Peres’ political opinions, they paid tribute to a great leader. “As time went on,” said Netanyahu, “We became closer. I appreciated him. I loved him.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennet said, “I loved Shimon Peres. That was not to be taken for granted. When I first became minister, he was president.  We met and there was a special click right away.” His son, Hemi Peres, thanked all who supported the family. “To those who sent their love from near and far, their hope, their prayers, I thank you. You embraced our father with love and he loved you.”  

His son in law added, “My wife, Tsvia, Shimon’s daughter, was very moved to receive a phone call from President Barak Obama who expressed his great appreciation for her father and expressed his heartfelt condolences to our family.”

Obama was just one of dozens of world leaders who sent their condolences and arrived for the funeral. Peres was buried between Yitzchak Shamir and Yitzchak Rabin, two leaders with whom he shared the leadership of the state of Israel. President Reuben Rivlin eulogized Peres:  “There is not one period of Israel’s history that Shimon Peres did not write himself. He was one man who carried an entire nation on the wings of his imagination, his vision.” May his memory be a blessing. 

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