Israel suffered a terrible loss as former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s founders, passed away early Wednesday. His state funeral will be attended by many world leaders, with an American contingent expected to include President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Clintons.
This piece in Haaretz by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie reflects the opinion of many American Jews, who yearn for a peaceful Israel but realize the difficulty.
Peres was an inconsistent politician, occasionally brilliant but often not. But near the end of his 75 year political career, an interesting thing happened. Israelis began to love him as well. He ended his career revered by left and right, an outstanding president who brought healing and renewal to the office of the presidency and to a discouraged and divided country.
To some extent, of course, Peres was beloved because he was seen as an advocate of peace when Israel’s government was not. But then, as always, he served his country, speaking broadly of peace but offering not the slightest public criticism of his government’s actions.