October 11, 2016  |  

Shimon Peres

MS THOMSON (Footscray) — Former Israeli President, Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres passed away on 18 September at the age of 93. He was a giant amongst giants and a leader amongst leaders. In a career spanning seven decades Peres held nearly every major office in Israel.

Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated when he was 11 to what was then the British Mandate for Palestine. He joined the Zionist struggle in the 1940s and met David Ben-Gurion, who would become Israel’s first Prime Minister and Peres’s mentor. Elected to Parliament in 1959, Shimon Peres served almost without interruption, becoming president in 2007. Peres was seen as Israel’s last remaining founding father. He was one of the architects of the Oslo peace accords and never lost faith in the two-state solution. Shimon Peres was not only a champion of peace. He was also credited with having laid the economic foundation for Israel’s start-up economy — he was passionate about technology and innovation.

I, together with a number of state Labor MPs, had the honour of meeting Shimon Peres in 2013, when he was President of Israel. His ability to maintain an optimistic outlook for young people and to help prepare them for the future that they would have to face was inspiring to all of us. In fact Shimon Peres said:

We will prove that innovation has no limits and no barriers. Innovation enables dialogue between nations and between people. It will enable all young people — Jews, Muslims and Christians — to engage in science and technology equally.

May his memory be a blessing.