Former Israeli PM Shimon Peres dies at 93

Tel Aviv: Shimon Peres, the Israeli elder statesman who shared a Nobel Prize for forging a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, has died. He served as a constant force for generations in Israeli politics.

The 93-year-old died after a stroke two weeks ago. He was reported to be making progress but doctors said he took a turn for the worse Tuesday.In top leadership roles over the decades — including Prime Minister and President — the Labor Party veteran became a face of the Jewish State, instantly recognized and well-respected in Israel and across the globe.

“There’s no corner of this country that he hasn’t touched,” Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog once said. “Everywhere he goes around the world, people listen to him.”

Peres retired from public office in 2014 after the end of his seven-year term as President. In Israeli politics for more than half a century, he held virtually every position in Cabinet, from minister of defense to Prime Minister, a position he held three times.

He battled Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for Labor Party leadership in the 1980s and 1990s, eventually becoming Rabin’s foreign minister.

In that role, Peres concluded the Oslo Peace Accords, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 with Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

“I am very grateful to him for a lifetime of thinking big thoughts and dreaming big dreams and figuring out practical ways to achieve them,” President Bill Clinton once said of a man he considered a friend.

After Rabin was assassinated in 1995, Peres became Prime Minister, calling early elections so the government would have a mandate to pursue a two-state solution. But a wave of Palestinian suicide attacks left Peres struggling to defend the peace process, ultimately costing him the next election.


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