Above: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres bestow honors for the fight against human trafficking during a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Statements of mourning and condolence poured in after Shimon Peres died early Wednesday, Sept. 28, two weeks after he suffered a massive stroke.
“Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta joins the rest of the world in mourning for the loss of a truly visionary leader. It is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye, and we are inspired by his numerous teachings as we prepare to move into the Jewish new year after this difficult loss. … May we move into 5777 committed to correcting our mistakes and inspired every day to know that our greatest achievements are yet to come and that we always have more to do in our mission to make the world a better place. Through this commitment, may the memory of Shimon Peres be a blessing.” — Eric Robbins and Joel Marks, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
“Shimon Peres epitomizes Israel’s many achievements over the past seven decades. He was Mr. Israel. He embodied the Zionist dream, he helped to build a free, secure and prosperous state in the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.” — Ronald Lauder, World Jewish Congress
“Shimon Peres was my education minister, and I will miss him very much. He didn’t watch history; he wrote it. … I was fortunate to meet Peres multiple times over the past few years and to hear his vision of a country that would be a light unto the nations, an Israel that would export to the world our greatest product: the Jewish mind. I was greatly moved when Peres accepted my request to join the public campaign for the study of sciences in Israel, even though we didn’t always see eye to eye on other issues.” — Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett
“There is not a chapter in the history of the state of Israel in which Shimon did not write or play a part. As one man, he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. A man who was a symbol for the great spirit of this people. Shimon made us look far into the future, and we loved him. We loved him because he made us dare to imagine not what was once here, nor what is now, but what could be.” — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
“Peres is the story of the Jewish nation and of the state of Israel, be it as a member of a family of Holocaust survivors, an oleh, an agriculturist, a person involved in the country’s security and a statesman. He was among the giants of our national leadership over the past century, a man with much credit to his name, a shining example of a proud Zionist who aspired his entire life to act for the benefit of the country and its citizens. He always looked to blaze a new trail and bring us all to better places. History will speak volumes of this great man, whose reputation preceded him in Israel and throughout the entire world as a man of wisdom, experience and vision. We will feel his absence greatly, but his fingerprints and the fruits of his labor will be present here for generations to come.” — Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
“Literally present at the creation of the Jewish state, Shimon Peres was the diplomatic, political and social innovation face of Israel over a seven-decade career. Through the years, he merged a stalwart, hands-on commitment to Israel’s viability and security with a dogged determination to promote peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, including a two-state solution with the Palestinians. His moderation and insight not only drew world leaders and dignitaries to meet and consult with him, but also served Israel in its ongoing fight against delegitimization and other anti-Israel forces.” — Jonathan Greenblatt and Marvin Nathan, Anti-Defamation League
“President Peres participated every year in Jerusalem’s Good Deeds Day as a volunteer who always took a paintbrush in hand and personally worked to make Jerusalem more beautiful. With his endless vigor and energy, President Peres also experienced Jerusalem’s nightlife. Wearing a leather jacket, President joined us on several cold Jerusalem nights for tours of the City Center, at the Jerusalem Wine Festival and at countless other events. Every time I met President Peres, he always had good advice to share. In every discussion, he offered a fresh perspective, and he always looked far into the future.” — Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
“On a personal note, Avital and I always felt that our struggle was important to him. We will always remember that he used his contacts and influence to open doors for Avital around the world in order to advance our struggle. When I was released from captivity and arrived in Israel, he was the first Israeli I saw upon landing when he came as prime minister to greet me. I will always remember him as the individual who started the Israeli chapter of my life.” — Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky
“Former President Peres was a dedicated supporter of teaching the legacy of the Shoah, so that the Jewish people and all humanity may have a brighter future. Shimon Peres worked tirelessly to further the causes of justice and peace for all humankind.” — Yad Vashem
“Shimon Peres was one of the few men in the world whose experience was surpassed only by his genuine wisdom and his eloquence. When he talked, everyone listened. And later, long after he’d left the room, you remembered what he said. It crept into your soul and stayed with you. Shimon Peres was truly a force of nature.” — Vice President Joe Biden
“One might expect a man in his 90s to speak fondly of the past. But even in his final year President Peres spoke compellingly about the future. I don’t think there has been anyone quite like him or anyone who will be like him again.” — Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO David Bernstein
“Shimon Peres represented the history and the impact Zionism has on all our lives. Through his vision and hard work, we realized the dream of establishing the modern state of Israel. All of us at JNF and around the world have lost a true icon, yet we commit to his memory to carry the dream forward.” — Jewish National Fund President Jeffrey E. Levine
“We are truly grateful for Peres’ extraordinary contributions to Israel’s security, including helping to arm the previously defenseless Jewish people, fathering Israel’s aircraft industry and serving in numerous government posts.” — Zionist Organization of America
“Peres’ life’s work was interwoven with the existence and renewal of the Jewish people. His vision and action shaped both the state of Israel and modern Judaism; his leadership was unparalleled. The significant contributions he made to Israel, to our people and to our Jewish identity in the international arena will not be forgotten. His loss is felt by us all.” — Beit Hatfusot