Chemi Peres, son of the Ninth President, and Rafi Walden, Peres’ son-in-law and personal physician, addressed the terrible news regarding the death of Shimon Peres of blessed memory
Chemi: “The loss we feel today belongs to all of Israel, we all share this pain.”
Rafi: “His life ended abruptly while he was still working on his great passion – strengthening the state and striving for peace. His legacy will remain with us all.”
Chemi Peres, son of the Ninth President, and Rafi Walden, Peres’ son-in-law and personal physician, addressed the terrible news regarding the death of Shimon Peres of blessed memory. Chemi Peres began by saying: "Today, with deep sorrow, we bid farewell to our beloved father, the Ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres.
Chemi referred to the many years of dedication by his father to the people of Israel and said: "He was one of the founding fathers of the State of Israel, and served our people before we even had a country of our own. He worked tirelessly for Israel from the very first day of the state to the last day of his life.
Throughout his 70 years of public service he was committed and devoted to Israel, serving as President, Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and in many other key positions, which shaped our history.
My father used to say: "You are only as great as the cause you serve". He had no interest other than serving the people of Israel, in whom he had great faith and whom he loved dearly, until his final breath.”
He also thanked the medical staff who treated his father with great devotion, and sent a message for a speedy recovery to the patients in the ICU saying: "On behalf of our family, I would like to thank the medical staff at the Sheba Medical Center, who worked tirelessly, with boundless dedication, professionalism, and devotion to our father's life.
We would like to send our warmest wishes to the families we met daily in the corridors of the ICU. We pray for your loved ones’ full and speedy recovery.
We extend our deepest gratitude to all of you who offered support, sending words of comfort, hope and prayers from within Israel and all over the world; young and old, Heads of State and religious leaders.
You enveloped our father in love, and we know how much he loved you.
Our father’s legacy has always been the future. Look to tomorrow, he taught us, build Israel’s future with courage and with wisdom and always continue to strive for peace. We were privileged to have been part of his private family. But today, we sense that the entire nation of Israel and the global community mourn this great loss. We share this pain, together.”
Following Chemi Peres’ message, Rafi Walden, son-in-law and personal physician to Shimon Peres, said: "Shimon Peres left us without suffering. The wonderful team at the Sheba Medical Center fought for his life with all of their might, while protecting his dignity and ensuring that he did not experience pain. He was in good health up until the day of his stroke. Ten months ago he suffered a minor heart attack, and his recovery was astounding. He returned to his work as usual at the Peres Center for Peace, including trips to South Africa and Canada, meeting with the Pope, and many others."
Walden also referred to Peres’ meetings with world leaders, saying: "During his meetings around the world we were amazed, time and again, to see world leaders standing before him like students before a Rabbi, eager to hear his wisdom. Just an hour ago we had a conversation with President Obama, who talked to my wife, Tsvia, expressing his great admiration for Peres and his condolences to the family.
Three weeks ago I traveled with him to an international conference in Italy, where he held meetings with statesmen, religious leaders, and business leaders, and gave numerous interviews. The speech he delivered was brilliantly received. On the morning of his stroke he delivered an hour long speech, as usual without notes, before business and high-tech leaders, about his favorite topic: innovation.
We all believed that so much more still awaited him, and that Israel and the world would continue to benefit from his contributions. His life ended abruptly, while he was still working on his great passion – strengthening the state and striving for peace. His legacy will remain with us all.”
Statement from the Office of Ninth President Shimon Peres
The Office of the Ninth President of the State of Israel bows its head in deep sadness at the passing of Shimon Peres; Israel’s Ninth President, former Prime Minister, Minister in numerous governments, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and a man of vision and of action.
Shimon Peres was one of Israel’s founding fathers; he secured the country’s deterrent capability and its defensive strength in the early years, stood at the forefront of arming and building the IDF, established the reactor in Dimona and led the formation of Israel’s defense industries. He served the people of Israel for decades, from before the establishment of the State and until his final breath. Shimon Peres worked to establish true peace within Israel as well as between Israel and her neighbors, and stood at the head of the country’s transformation into a technological superpower – the Startup Nation.
As Prime Minister (1984-1986), Peres turned Israel’s economy around and saved it from collapse following the worst economic crisis in its history (with a peak inflation of over 400% per year) through his Economic Stabilization Program.
Shimon Peres believed that it was the right of every Jew in the world to live in Israel. As Prime Minister, he worked to open the gates of the Former Soviet Union and enable the immigration of Soviet Jewry to Israel, oversaw Operation Moses, during which 8,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel, and pushed for the release of the Prisoners of Zion.
As President, he worked to promote Israel’s standing in the world and established centers to encourage breakthrough Israeli science and innovation. In recent years he secured the necessary resources and opened research funds at Israeli universities, which contributed to the development of Israeli science and to breakthroughs in a variety of fields including neuroscience, robotics and nanotechnology. In July 2016, Shimon Peres laid the cornerstone for the new Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, together with the Israeli Prime Minister and President.
It is with great sadness that we part from one of Israel’s great leaders, a man who devoted his life to the service of his country and loved the people of Israel with all his heart.
May his memory be a blessing.
Photo Silvia Golan