Tuesday, 28 September 2016 signalled the end of an era in the history of Israel. It is an era in which brave leaders with extraordinary vision build a powerful state and a resilient nation against all odds. It also signalled a new beginning on the threshold of a new year.
Many criticized the late Shimon Peres, the last founding father of the State of Israel, but the majority of leaders of the free world respected him as a visionary leader and a man of peace. Friend and foe respected his stature as a leader who remains positive amid dire circumstances. His numerous quotes of wisdom defined him as man of strong character with the ability to see the world through a solution oriented prism.
The unwillingness of the Palestinians to make peace came to the fore once again when Mustafa Barghouti were asked about Shimon Peres’ legacy on CNN. His astonishing answer was that “Peres is to blame for accepting the flawed Oslo Accord.” The fact is that Shimon Peres took the risk to make peace with the Palestinians. Peace will not be possible if blame is shifted all the time.
To make a difference in this world and to make this world a better place was the driving force behind Shimon Peres. It defined his vision and decisions, like the following quote of him so aptly described his motives: “The most important thing in life is to dare. The most complicated thing in life is to be afraid. The smartest thing in the world is to try to be a moral person.”
The many tributes that poured in from over the world after the passing of Shimon Peres are a clear testimony of the many lives he touched. Even some of the newspapers in South Africa, who are normally critical about Israel, published positive and balanced articles about the passing of Shimon Peres. The biggest Afrikaans newspaper, Die Burger published an exceptionally good article.
Considering the overwhelming reaction from all over the world, Shimon Peres certainly made an impact on many. President Obama put it so eloquently: “A bright light has gone out.”
Rest in peace Mr Peres, we salute you.