Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Shimon Peres, arbiter of Israeli


 By Bayo
> Ogunmupe
>        Shimon Peres, former
> president of Israel, has died at the age of 93 years. The
> Polish born Israeli statesman was the ninth president of
> Israel, serving from 2007 till 2014. Peres served twice as
> prime minister in 1977 when Yitzhak Rabin stepped down over
> over a foreign exchange scandal involving Rabin's wife and
> 1984-86 in a coalition with Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud
> party. Peres was a member of 12 cabinets in a career
> spanning 66 years. He was elected to the Knesset, the
> Israeli Parliament from !959 to 2007 when he became
> president.
>        Peres held some diplomatic
> and military positions during and after Israel's War of
> Independence. His first major position was as
> Deputy-Director General of Defence in 1953 till 1959. In his
> career, he represented five political parties in the Knesset
> Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labour and Kadima; he led the
> Alignment and Labour. Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize
> as Israeli foreign minister along with Prime Minister
> Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It
> was for the peace talks he participated in producing the
> Oslo Peace Accords.
>       Peres was nominated in 2007 by Kadima
> for the presidential election, and was elected by the
> Knesset to the presidency in June 2007. Peres was the first
> former prime minister to be elected president of Israel. By
> the time if retirement in 2014, he was the world's oldest
> head of state. He died near Tel Aviv on 28 September 2016
> following a massive stroke.
>       Peres was born in Poland now Vishnyeva,
> Belarus to Yitzhak(1896-1962) and Sara(1905-1969 nee
> Meltzer) Perski. The family spoke Hebrew, Yiddish and
> Russian at home, Peres learned Polish, English and French at
> school. His father was a timber merchant while his mother
> was a librarian. he had a younger brother, Gershon. Peres
> learned the Talmud, the Jewish holy book under his
> grandfather Rabbi Zvi Meltzer.
>        In 1932, Peres' father
> emigrated to British Palestine, settling at Tel Aviv. The
> family followed him in 1934. Peres attended Balfour
> Elementary School, Balfour High School and a College of
> Commerce in Tel Aviv. At 15, he transferred  to Ben
> Shemen Agricultural School. In 1941, he was elected
> Secretary of a Zionist Youth Movement and in 1944 he
> returned to Alumot where he worked as a dairy farmer and
> shepherd. At age 20, he was elected to the national
> secretariat of the Mapai party. Later, the leader of Mapai
> David Ben-Gurion appointed him into the Mapai Council.
>       In 1941, all of Peres' relatives
> remaining in Poland  were murdered during the
> Holocaust, many of them including Rabbi Meltzer were burned
> alive in their synagogues. In 1945, Peres married Sonya
> Gelman. They had a daughter, Dr Tsiki Walden, a professor of
> languages; an elder son Yoni, a veterinary doctor and a
> younger son Chemi Peres, co-founder and managing partner,
> Pitango Venture Capital, one of Israel's largest venture
> capital funds. Chemi is a former helicopter pilot in Israel
> Air Force.
>        In 1947, Peres joined the
> Haganah, the predecessor of Israel Defence Forces.
> Ben-Gurion made him head of personnel and arms purchases. He
> was promoted head of the Navy when Israel received
> independence in 1948. As head of the Israeli delegation to
> the United States in the 1950s, Peres studied 
> Economics and philosophy  at the New School, New York
> University and management at Harvard University. In 1952 at
> 29 years, Peres had become the  director of the
> ministry of defence. He was the youngest person to hold such
> office at that time. in that capacity, he secured an
> alliance with France, securing massive arms that tipped the
> balance of power in the Mid East.
>       Due to Peres' mediation, Israel
> acquired advanced French jet fighters, established a nuclear
> reactor and entered into a tripartite agreement with France
> and Britain positioning  Israel  advantageously
> for the 1956 Suez Crisis. Peres planned the Suez war with
> Britain and France. By 1955, France was shipping large
> cargoes of weapons to Israel. Astute diplomacy  earned
> Peres the French Legion of Honour. In their alliance against
> Egypt, they invaded Sinai; successfully attained their
> objective. But hostility to seizure of the Suez Canal from
> the U.S and the USSR forced them to withdraw, stopping them
> from control of the Canal.
>        When Peres was elected to
> the Knesset in 1959, he was made Deputy Defence Minister. In
> 1965, Peres, Moshe Dayan left Mapai with Ben-Gurion to form
> Rafi Party which later reconciled with Mapai to form the
> left leaning alliance. By 1974, after serving as minister of
> information, Peres became minister of Defence. with Yitzhak
> Rabin as premier having been Rabin's rival for the post
> after Golda Meir resigned in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur
> war.
>       Peres succeeded Rabin as Labour party
> leader in 1977 after Rabin resigned over a foreign exchange
> scandal. Peres lost the subsequent election but returned as
> premier after an alliance with Likud  in1984. Yitzhak
> Shamir replaced him as premier in 1986. Peres served as
> Rabin's foreign minister from 1992, sharing the Nobel Peace
> Prize with Rabin and Arafat. After Rabin's assassination in
> 1995, Peres was acting premier and minister of defence,
> winning the 1996 election to retain the premiership.
>       During his tenure, Peres promoted the
> use of the Internet in Israel, creating the first website of
> an Israeli prime minister. However he was defeated by
> Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. Then, Ehud Barak replaced Peres
> as Labour leader in 1997- going ahead to defeat Netanyahu as
> premier in 1999. Thereafter, Peres resigned from the Labour
> party to join Ariel Sharon's Kadima party. That was
> consequent upon Sharon's crushing defeat of Barak as premier
> in 2001. In 2007, Kadima nominated Peres for president; in
> June Peres was elected president by the Knesset. He had won
> 86 to 23. He was sworn in as president in July. In 2008, he
> was knighted by the British queen. In 2012,he was the
> recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honour from U.S
> President Barack Obama. 
>         For his political views, Peres
> was considered a hawk, supporting a two state solution to
> the Mid East crisis. Shimon Peres authored eleven books,
> three of which were best sellers. Many world leaders
> attended his funeral, including President Obama of the
> United States.

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