Shimon Peres
Overview
 
GCMG  is the ninth President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 of the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 and once as Interim Prime Minister
Acting Prime Minister
An acting Prime Minister is a Cabinet member who is serving the role of prime minister, whilst the individual who normally holds the position in unable or unwilling to do so. The role of Acting Prime Minister is often performed by the Deputy Prime Minister...

, and has been a member of 12 cabinets
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

 in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President.

He held several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel's War of Independence.
Quotations

Until the Yom Kippur War, in 1973, until then Israel didn't have a chance but to fight for her life. We were attacked five times, outgunned, outnumbered, on a small piece of land, and our main challenge was to remain alive.

There isn't a single person in Israel who wants to destroy or harm Egypt. In contrast, there's a whole country that openly wants to destroy Israel, and that's Iran. That is the difference between ours and Egypt's security problems. Egypt is not threatened by anyone. Israel is threatened by the second circle. Israel has never been and will never be a danger to Egypt. [...] Israel is not threatening Iran, Iran is threatening Israel. The situation is not similar.

The borders will be based on 1967, with the required security modifications. If we take a certain percentage of the Palestinian land, we will compensate them with land. We will not rob their land. Sovereignty yes, but no one would threaten this Palestinian state, and therefore the Palestinians also agree that it can be demilitarized. When the threats on Israel would also cease, I hope that Israel could be demilitarized too.

We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide|Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide [...] Israel should not determine a historical or philosophical position on the Armenian issue. If we have to determine a position, it should be done with great care not to distort the historical realities.

Optimists and pessimists die the same way. They just live differently. I prefer to live as an optimist.

The president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map.

(May 8, 2006)

Encyclopedia
GCMG  is the ninth President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

 of the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 and once as Interim Prime Minister
Acting Prime Minister
An acting Prime Minister is a Cabinet member who is serving the role of prime minister, whilst the individual who normally holds the position in unable or unwilling to do so. The role of Acting Prime Minister is often performed by the Deputy Prime Minister...

, and has been a member of 12 cabinets
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

 in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President.

He held several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel's War of Independence. His first high-level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952, and Director-General in 1953 through 1959. During his career, he has represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

, Rafi, the Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

, Labor and Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, and has led Alignment and Labour. Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 together with Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 and Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

.

Peres was nominated in early 2007 by Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 to run in that year's presidential election
Israeli presidential election, 2007
Shimon Peres, a former Prime Minister and a member of the Kadima party, was elected by the Knesset as the next President of Israel on 13 June 2007. His opponents were Reuven Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker, of the Likud Party, and Colette Avital, of the Labor party...

, and was elected by the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 to the presidency on 13 June 2007 and sworn into office on 15 July 2007 for a seven-year term. He is the first former Prime Minister to be elected President of Israel.

Biography

Shimon Peres was born Szymon Perski on 2 August 1923 in Wiszniewo
Vishneva
Vishneva is a township in Valozhyn Raion, Minsk Voblast, Belarus, near the border with Lithuania.-History:In 1921-39 the town was part of the Second Polish Republic as part of Nowogródek Voivodeship....

, Poland
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

 (now Višnieva
Vishneva
Vishneva is a township in Valozhyn Raion, Minsk Voblast, Belarus, near the border with Lithuania.-History:In 1921-39 the town was part of the Second Polish Republic as part of Nowogródek Voivodeship....

, Belarus), to Yitzhak (1896–1962) and Sara (b. 1905 née Meltzer) Perski. The family spoke Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 and Russian at home, and Peres learned Polish at school. He now speaks English and French in addition to Hebrew. His father was a lumber merchant, later branching out into other commodities while his mother was a librarian. Peres has a younger brother, Gershon, and is a first cousin of American actress Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

 (born Betty Joan Persky).

Peres' grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Meltzer, a grandson of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin
Chaim Volozhin
Chaim Volozhin was an Orthodox rabbi, Talmudist, and ethicist. Popularly known as "Reb Chaim Volozhiner" or simply as "Reb Chaim", he was born in Volozhin when it was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

, had a great impact on his life. In an interview, Peres said: "As a child, I grew up in my grandfather's home… I was educated by him… my grandfather taught me Talmud. It was not as easy as it sounds. My home was not an observant one. My parents were not Orthodox but I was Haredi. At one point, I heard my parents listening to the radio on the Sabbath and I smashed it." All of Peres' relatives who remained in Wiszniewo in 1941 were murdered during the Holocaust, many of them (including Rabbi Meltzer) burned alive in the town's synagogue.
In 1932, Peres' father immigrated to Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. The family followed him in 1934. He attended Balfour Elementary School and High School, and Geula Gymnasium (High School for Commerce) in Tel Aviv. At 15, he transferred to Ben Shemen agricultural school
Ben Shemen Youth Village
Ben Shemen Youth Village is a youth village and agricultural boarding school in central Israel. Located near Ben Shemen and Ginaton, it falls under the jurisdiction of Judaism Hevel Modi'in Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 627.-History:...

 and lived on Kibbutz Geva
Geva
-External links:*...

 for several years. Peres was one of the founders of Kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 Alumot
Alumot
Alumot is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located to the south of the Sea of Galilee, it falls under the jurisdiction of Emek HaYarden Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 241.-History:...

. In 1941 he was elected Secretary of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed
Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed
Histadrut HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed , sometimes abbreiviated to No'al is an Israeli youth movement, a sister movement of Habonim Dror, the Labor Zionist movement....

, a Labor Zionist
Labor Zionism
Labor Zionism can be described as the major stream of the left wing of the Zionist movement. It was, for many years, the most significant tendency among Zionists and Zionist organizational structure...

 youth movement, and in 1944 returned to Alumot, where he worked as a dairy farmer, shepherd and kibbutz secretary.

In 1945, Peres married Sonya Gelman, who preferred to remain outside the public eye. They had three children. Sonya Peres was unable to attend Shimon's inauguration ceremony due to ill health. She died on 20 January 2011, aged 87.

In 2005, he was voted the 11th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet
Ynet
Ynet is the most popular Israeli news and general content website. It is owned by the same conglomerate that operates Yediot Ahronot, the country's secondleading daily newspaper...

to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.

Military career

In 1947, Peres joined the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, the predecessor of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 made him responsible for personnel and arms purchases.

In 1952, he was appointed Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Defense, and in 1953, at the age of 29, became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry of Defense. He was involved in arms purchases and establishing strategic alliances that were important for the State of Israel. He was instrumental in establishing close relations with the French, securing massive amounts of quality arms that, in turn, helped to tip the balance of power in the region. Owing to Peres' mediation, Israel acquired the advanced Dassault Mirage III
Dassault Mirage III
The Mirage III is a supersonic fighter aircraft designed by Dassault Aviation during the late 1950s, and manufactured both in France and a number of other countries. It was a successful fighter aircraft, being sold to many air forces around the world and remaining in production for over a decade...

 French jet fighter, established the Dimona nuclear reactor
Negev Nuclear Research Center
The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have...

 and entered into a tri-national agreement with France and the United Kingdom, positioning Israel in what would become the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

.

Political career

Peres was first elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in the 1959 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1959
Elections for the fourth Knesset were held in Israel on 3 November 1959. Voter turnout was 81.5%.-Results:¹ The General Zionists and the Progressive Party merged to form the Liberal Party....

, as a member of the Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 party. He was given the role of Deputy Defense Minister, which he fulfilled until 1965. Peres and Moshe Dayan left Mapai with David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 to form a new party, Rafi, which reconciled with Mapai and joined the Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

 (a left-wing alliance) in 1968.

In 1969, Peres was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption
Immigrant Absorption Minister of Israel
The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption of Israel , known until 1951 as the Ministry of Immigration , a ministry in the Israeli government.In co-ordination with local authorities, the Ministry is responsible for new immigrants for three weeks after they arrive...

 and in 1970 became Minister of Transportation and Communications. In 1974, after a period as Information Minister, he was appointed Minister of Defense in the Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 government, having been Rabin's chief rival for the post of Prime Minister after Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 resigned in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. During this time, Peres continued to challenge Rabin for the chairmanship of the party, but in 1977, he again lost to Rabin in the party elections.

Peres succeeded Rabin as party leader prior to the 1977 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1977
The Elections for the ninth Knesset were held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, the right-wing, led by Likud, won the election, ending almost 30 years of rule by the left-wing Alignment and its predecessor, Mapai...

 when Rabin stepped down in the wake of a foreign currency scandal involving his wife. As Rabin could not legally resign from the transition government, he officially remained Prime Minister, while Peres became the unofficial acting Prime Minister. Peres led the Alignment to its first ever electoral defeat, when Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 under Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 won sufficient seats to form a coalition that excluded the left. After only a month on top, Peres assumed the role of opposition leader. After turning back a comeback bid by Rabin in 1980 Peres led his party to another, narrower, loss in the 1981 elections. In 1984, the Alignment won more seats than any other party but failed to muster the majority of 61 mandates needed to form a left-wing coalition. Alignment and Likud agreed to an unusual "rotation" arrangement in which Peres would serve as Prime Minister and the Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 would be Foreign Minister. A highlight of this time in office was a trip to Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 to confer with King Hassan II
Hassan II of Morocco
King Hassan II l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, dial. el-ḥasan ettâni); July 9, 1929 – July 23, 1999) was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999...

.

After two years, Peres and Shamir traded places. In 1986 he became foreign minister. In 1988, the Alignment led by Peres suffered another narrow defeat
Israeli legislative election, 1988
Elections for the twelfth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1988. Voter turnout was 79.7%.-Results:1 Five members of the Likud left to form the Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea; after two returned, the party was renamed the New Liberal Party...

. He agreed to renew the coalition with the Likud, this time conceding the premiership to Shamir for the entire term. In the national unity government
National unity government
A national unity government, government of national unity, or national union government is a broad coalition government consisting of all parties in the legislature, usually formed during a time of war or other national emergency.- Canada :During World War I the Conservative government of Sir...

 of 1988–90, Peres served as Vice Premier and Minister of Finance. He and the Alignment finally left the government in 1990, after "the dirty trick
The dirty trick (Israel)
The dirty trick refers to a political scandal that erupted in Israel in 1990. It consisted of an attempt by Shimon Peres to form a narrow government made up of the left-wing factions and the ultra-orthodox parties...

" – a failed bid to form a narrow government based on a coalition of the Alignment, small leftist factions and ultra-orthodox
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 parties.

From 1990, Peres led the opposition in the Knesset, until, in early 1992, he was defeated in the first primary elections of the new Israeli Labor Party (which had been formed by the consolidation of the Alignment into a single unitary party) by Yitzhak Rabin, whom he had replaced fifteen years earlier. Peres remained active in politics, however, serving as Rabin's foreign minister from 1992. Secret negotiations with Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

's PLO organization led to the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, which won Peres, Rabin and Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

. After Rabin's assassination in 1995, Peres again became Prime Minister.

During his term, Peres promoted the use of the Internet in Israel and created the first website of an Israeli prime minister. However, he was narrowly defeated by Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

 in the first direct elections for Prime Minister
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1996
The first ever election for Prime Minister was held in Israel on 29 May 1996 alongside simultaneous Knesset elections. There were only two candidates: Shimon Peres of the Labour Party and Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud. The result was a surprise win for Netanyahu by a margin of 29,457 votes, less than...

 in 1996. In 1997 he did not seek re-election as Labor Party leader and was replaced by Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

. Barak rebuffed Peres's attempt to secure the position of party president and upon forming a government in 1999 appointed Peres to the minor post of Minister of Regional Co-operation
Regional Development Minister of Israel
The Regional Development Minister is a member of the Israeli cabinet. The post was created following the formation of a new government in March 2009, and is held by Silvan Shalom, who also holds the post of Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee....

. Peres played little role in the Barak government.

In 2000 Peres ran for a seven-year term as Israel's President
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

, a ceremonial head of state position, which usually authorizes the selection of Prime Minister. Had he won, as was expected, he would have been the first ex-Prime Minister to be elected President. He lost
Israeli presidential election, 2000
An election for President of Israel was held in the Knesset on July 31, 1993 following the end of Ezer Weizman's second five-year term in office. Moshe Katsav, a prominent Likud politician, ran against Shimon Peres, a previous Prime Minister of Israel. In a surprising upset, the Knesset elected...

 however, to Likud candidate Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav is an Israeli politician. He served as the eighth President of Israel, a leading Likud member of the Israeli Knesset, and a Cabinet Minister in its government....

.

Following Ehud Barak's defeat by Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 in the 2001 direct election for Prime Minister, Peres made yet another comeback. He led Labor into a national unity government with Sharon's Likud and secured the post of Foreign Minister. The formal leadership of the party passed to Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer , , born 12 February 1936) is an Israeli politician and former military officer of Iraqi origin. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, and has held several ministerial posts, including Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of...

, and in 2002 to Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 mayor, Amram Mitzna
Amram Mitzna
Amram Mitzna is an Israeli politician and former general. He is the acting mayor of Yeruham, the former mayor of Haifa and led the Labour Party from 2002 to 2003.-Youth, studies and military service:...

. Peres was much criticized on the left for clinging to his position as Foreign Minister in a government that was not seen as advancing the peace process, despite his own dovish stance. He left office only when Labor resigned in advance of the 2003 elections. After the party under the leadership of Mitzna suffered a crushing defeat, Peres again emerged as interim leader. He led the party into coalition with Sharon once more at the end of 2004 when the latter's support of "disengagement" from Gaza presented a diplomatic program Labor could support.
Peres won the chairmanship of the Labor Party in 2005, in advance of the 2006 elections. As party leader, Peres favored pushing off the elections for as long as possible. He claimed that an early election would jeopardize both the September 2005 Gaza withdrawal plan and the standing of the party in a national unity government with Sharon. However, the majority pushed for an earlier date, as younger members of the party, among them Ophir Pines-Paz
Ophir Pines-Paz
Ophir Pines-Paz is an Israeli former politician who served as Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Science, Culture & Sport and as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party from 1996 until 2010.-Biography:...

 and Isaac Herzog, overtook established leaders like Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer , , born 12 February 1936) is an Israeli politician and former military officer of Iraqi origin. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, and has held several ministerial posts, including Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of...

 and Haim Ramon
Haim Ramon
Haim Ramon is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1983 and 2009, and as both Vice Prime Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office with responsibility for state policy.-Biography:...

, in the party ballot to divide up government portfolios. Peres continually led in the polls, defying predictions that rivals would overtake him. Peres lost the leadership election with 40% to Peretz's 42.4%.
On 30 November 2005 Peres announced that he was leaving the Labor Party to support Ariel Sharon and his new Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 party. In the immediate aftermath of Sharon's debilitating stroke there was speculation that Peres might take over as leader of the party but most senior Kadima leaders, however, were former members of Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 and indicated their support for Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 as Sharon's successor.

Labor reportedly tried to woo Peres back to the fold. Peres announced, however, that he supported Olmert and would remain with Kadima. Peres had previously announced his intention not to run in the March elections. Following Kadima's win in the election, Peres was given the role of Vice Prime Minister and Minister for the Development of the Negev, Galilee and Regional Economy.

Presidency

On 13 June 2007, Peres was elected President of the State of Israel
Israeli presidential election, 2007
Shimon Peres, a former Prime Minister and a member of the Kadima party, was elected by the Knesset as the next President of Israel on 13 June 2007. His opponents were Reuven Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker, of the Likud Party, and Colette Avital, of the Labor party...

 by the Knesset. 58 of 120 members of the Knesset voted for him in the first round (whereas 38 voted for Reuven Rivlin
Reuven Rivlin
Reuven "Rubi" Rivlin is an Israeli lawyer, politician, currently serving as a speaker of the Knesset. He belongs to conservative Likud. A former Speaker of the Knesset, in 2007 he ran in the election for President as the Likud candidate...

, and 21 for Colette Avital
Colette Avital
Colette Avital is an Israeli diplomat and politician. She served as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party and One Israel between 1999 and 2009.-Biography:...

). His opponents then backed Peres in the second round and 86 members of the Knesset voted in his favor, while 23 objected. He resigned from his role as a Member of the Knesset the same day, having been a member since November 1959 (except for a three month period in early 2006), the longest serving in Israeli political history. Peres was sworn in as President on 15 July 2007.
In November 2008, Peres received an honorary knighthood, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George from Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace in London.

Political views

Peres was once considered a "hawk
War Hawk
War Hawk is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the British in the War of 1812...

". He was a protégé of Ben-Gurion and Dayan and an early supporter of the West Bank settlers during the 1970s. However, after becoming the leader of his party his stance evolved. More recently he has been seen as a dove, and a strong supporter of peace through economic cooperation. While still opposed, like all mainstream Israeli leaders in the 1970s and early 1980s, to talks with the PLO, he distanced himself from settlers and spoke of the need for "territorial compromise" over the West Bank and Gaza. For a time he hoped that King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 of Jordan could be Israel's Arab negotiating partner rather than Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

. Peres met secretly with Hussein in London in 1987 and reached a framework agreement
Peres-Hussein London Agreement
The London Agreement between King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres, was signed during a secret meeting held at the residence of Lord Mishcon in London on April 11, 1987...

 with him, but this was rejected by Israel's then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

. Shortly afterward the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 erupted, and whatever plausibility King Hussein had as a potential Israeli partner in resolving the fate of the West Bank evaporated. Subsequently, Peres gradually moved closer to support for talks with the PLO, although he avoided making an outright commitment to this policy until 1993.

Peres was perhaps more closely associated with the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 than any other Israeli politician (Rabin included) with the possible exception of his own protégé, Yossi Beilin
Yossi Beilin
Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Beilin is a left-wing Israeli politician and a former Knesset member, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Justice Minister, representing both the Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad, of which he served as chairman between 2003 and 2006. He is best known for his involvement with the...

. He has remained an adamant supporter of the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 and the Palestinian Authority since their inception despite the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 and the al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Intifada). However, Peres supported Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

's military policy of operating the Israeli Defence Forces to thwart suicide bombings.

Peres' foreign policy outlook is markedly realist. To placate Turkey, Peres allegedly downplayed the Armenian genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

. Peres stated: "We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide." Although Peres himself did not retract the statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry later issued a cable to its missions which stated that the "The minister absolutely did not say, as the Turkish news agency alleged, “What the Armenians underwent was a tragedy, not a genocide"". However, according to Armenian news agencies, the statement released by the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles did not include any mention that Peres hadn't said that the events were not genocide.

On the issue of the nuclear program of Iran
Nuclear program of Iran
The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution...

 and the existential threat this poses for Israel, Peres stated, "I am not in favor of a military attack on Iran, but we must quickly and decisively establish a strong, aggressive coalition of nations that will impose painful economic sanctions on Iran
Sanctions against Iran
This article outlines economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions against Iran, which have been imposed by the U.S. government, or under U.S. pressure by the international community through the United Nations Security Council...

", adding "Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear weapons should keep the entire world from sleeping soundly." In the same speech, Peres compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his call to "wipe Israel off the map" to the genocidal threats to European Jewry made by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in the years prior to the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. In an interview with Army Radio on 8 May 2006 he remarked that "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map".Peres is a proponent of Middle East economic integration
Middle East economic integration
Middle East economic integration has been envisioned, proposed or implemented by various parties in recent history.The stated rationale is that peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East can only be sustained over the long-run through intra-regional economic cooperation.Governance,...

.

Family

In May 1945, Peres married Sonya Gelman, whom he had met in the Ben Shemen Youth Village
Ben Shemen Youth Village
Ben Shemen Youth Village is a youth village and agricultural boarding school in central Israel. Located near Ben Shemen and Ginaton, it falls under the jurisdiction of Judaism Hevel Modi'in Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 627.-History:...

, where her father served as a carpentry teacher. The couple married after Sonya finished her military service in the British Army during World War II. Through the years Sonya chose to stay away from the media and keep her privacy and the privacy of her family, despite her husband's extensive political career. With the election of Peres for president, Sonya Peres, who had not wanted her husband to accept the position, announced that she would stay in the couple's apartment in Tel Aviv and not join her husband in Jerusalem. The couple thereafter lived separately. She died on 20 January 2011, aged 87, from heart failure at her apartment in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

.

Shimon and Sonya Peres had three children:
  • A daughter, Dr. Zvia ("Tsiki") Valdan, a linguist and professor at Beit Berl
    Beit Berl
    Beit Berl is a village and the largest academic college in Israel in number of students and the range of programs it offers. Located on the outskirts of Kfar Sava, it falls under the jurisdiction of Drom HaSharon Regional Council...

     Academic College;
  • An elder son, Yoni, director of Village Veterinary Center, a veterinary hospital on the campus of Kfar Hayarok Agricultural School near Tel Aviv. He specializes in the treatment of guide dogs
    Guide dog
    Guide dogs are assistance dogs trained to lead blind and visually impaired people around obstacles.Although the dogs can be trained to navigate various obstacles, they are partially color blind and are not capable of interpreting street signs...

    ;
  • A younger son, Nehemia ("Chemi"), Co-founder/Managing General Partner of Pitango Venture Capital, one of Israel's largest venture capital funds. Chemi Peres is a former helicopter pilot in the IAF.


Peres is the first cousin of American movie star Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

 (born Betty Joan Perske, 1924).

Books

Shimon Peres is the author of 11 books, including:
  • The Next Step (1965)
  • David's Sling (1970) (ISBN 0-297-00083-7)
  • And Now Tomorrow (1978)
  • From These Men: seven founders of the State of Israel (1979) (ISBN 0-671-61016-3)
  • Entebbe Diary (1991) (ISBN 965-248-111-4)
  • The New Middle East (1993) (ISBN 0-8050-3323-8)
  • Battling for Peace: a memoir (1995) (ISBN 0-679-43617-0)
  • For the Future of Israel (1998) (ISBN 0-8018-5928-X)
  • The Imaginary Voyage: With Theodor Herzl in Israel (1999) (ISBN 1-55970-468-3)

External links


|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
|-
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK