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World Mourns Loss of Shimon Peres, Giant of Israeli Politics

World Mourns Loss of Shimon Peres, Giant of Israeli Politics

Shimon Peres, seated

On Friday, September 30, world leaders gathered in Jerusalem to honor Shimon Peres. As the former President and Prime Minister of Israel was laid to rest at Mount Herzl, President Obama and former President Bill Clinton were among the thousands who gathered to remember Peres’ unique contributions to Israel and the world.

Following Peres’ passing on Wednesday, September 28 two weeks after suffering a stroke, Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued a statement mourning this immense loss:

“As a leader in so many critical capacities and for as many decades as Israel itself is old, Shimon Peres promoted an Israel of democracy, pluralism, and tolerance. He was a tough minded lover of peace who understood that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood and must have the deterrence it needs, but that in the end, the best deterrence is hope for a better tomorrow, and promoting the wisdom and creativity of the Israeli people on the world stage, while also ensuring that Israel engages significantly in a global arena.”

Adding his voice to a chorus of similar calls from world leaders, Rabbi Jacobs challenged us all to continue striving for justice and peace in the spirit of Peres’ legacy.

Throughout his lifetime, Peres worked toward achieving peace with the Palestinians, and in 1994, he jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for their efforts on the historic Oslo Accords. While he did not achieve lasting peace with the Palestinians in his lifetime, calls to continue this work were a common theme among Peres’ eulogizers.

In his remarks, President Obama celebrated Peres’ work on the peace process, saying "he understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors." Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli author Amos Oz, and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also shared memories of the Israeli leader who spent almost 70 years in public service.

Perhaps in a testament to Peres’ reputation as a peace broker, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas shared a handshake and a brief greeting in a highly publicized moment.

Since his passing, many articles have been written about Peres’ legacy and contributions. Here are three that provide interesting perspectives:


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Shelby Friedman is a 2016-2017 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. Shelby is from Dallas, TX, where she is a member of Temple Emanu-El. She graduated from Middlebury College. 

Shelby Friedman

Published: 9/30/2016