“For me, dreaming is simply being pragmatic.” – Shimon Peres z”l (1923-2016)

It feels a little strange shedding a tear for a man who passes from this world aged 93 with family and friends around following a short illness.

However with Shimon Peres there is so much more to think about.

Peres has been a servant of Israel and the Jewish people for 76 years. Say that again to yourself – 76 years.

Many people in our world don’t even spend that much time on the planet, much less dedicate themselves in the way that he has done to a single cause.

Shimon Peres was involved in the State before it was founded. Next year will be the 70 anniversary of the vote at the UN, preceding the independence of Israel – he was already active by then, having already been elected in 1941 as the head of the Zionist Labour youth movement.

This though, is not all. Peres can teach us things about the future and how and how to make it better. Whilst nobody should forget that he spent years fighting for his political legitimacy, and indeed carries for many the negative legacy of the Oslo accords, nobody should ever say that he acted in any other capacity other than to the benefit of Israel and its people.

He never gave up, never doubted that he should give his all to make Israel a strong and successful country, defensible in times of war and seeking peace wherever possible.

The very last moments of his life before suffering the massive stroke 2 weeks ago, he posted a short video on Facebook exhorting people to buy blue and white, not only because we should be patriotic (which of course he was) but because he KNEW that products and technologies created in Israel where the best in the world.

Even aged 93 Peres was thinking about the future, not tomorrow or a week or month from now, but how Israel can secure its future into the next generation.

Shimon Peres sought the love and admiration of Israeli society, and was not afraid when he did not receive it. He burst with pride whenever he spoke about Israel and has been one of if not our greatest ambassador, but that never stopped him from doing the unpopular thing, taking the difficult decision or facing down the greatest risks to himself as a politician and statesman.

During the decades of public service it’s not possible to make all the right decisions, and indeed such was the case for Peres, but we can all take from his legacy the infinite dedication to the cause, the endless love for his country and the belief that tomorrow can and must be better than today. It seems that he felt the same way about this aged 17 when he entered public life as aged 93 when he parted from us.

May his memory be a blessing to Israel and the Jewish people, and that irrespective of our different political allegiances we can continue to hope for a life of peace and security for Israel.

About the Author
Daniel Goldman is Chairman of Gesher, the leading organisation bridging social gaps in Israeli society; he is a local activist in Beit Shemesh and Founding Partner of Goldrock Capital.
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