It’s his secret


 Shimon Peres insisted everyone hold a dialogue with tomorrow, to stare at the future in its eyes. he spoke of   values, of morals. now, we must continue in his vision”

Today, almost two whole months after his passing, I look back on 21 years of non-stop round-the-clock work in Israel and the world in which I followed him, attempting to achieve his goals and dive into his global ideas. I try to take my sack of immense personal feelings, tie it up with a big bow and place them on a shelf for a minute. I sit myself in front of a historical mirror and try an explain to myself the phenomenon named Shimon Peres — from an up-close and intense acquaintance.

I look at the huge pile of condolence letters from across the globe, I still feel the warm embrace of Clinton, Obama, Hollande, the young Trudeau from Canada, French philosopher Bernard Henry Levi and numerous other leaders and opinion makers that came, stood silently and wept on Peres’ passing with us.

In his 93rd year, Peres was no longer an official serving leader, but he had decades of tremendous and immense work behind him. Nevertheless, everyone gathered and those who did not still felt the severe loss, the sense of orphanhood.

I deeply comprehend the real reason why on 28 September, the moment Peres left us, dozens of aircraft engines were running, hundreds of bureaus of leaders started scrambling and the White House gave an immediate order for 4 planes to fly and prepare for the arrival of the President of the world’s most powerful democracy.

The reason has two main elements:

Peres insisted everyone hold a dialogue with the future, to stare future in its eyes.

Peres spoke on values, on morals

Everyone’s Leader


I can testify first-hand that in the Oval Office, the Elisyee Palace, the Palace in Jordan, the Kremlin and Balfour, he spoke with world leaders on where global order was headed and what we must do to leave our children a better world.

Peres would come to these meetings armed with a systematic doctrine for a new world order and a long thin pin. He would ask the biggest of leaders sitting in their palaces with red carpets surrounded by royal guards with polished uniforms: “What world are we leaving for next generations? A world torn with hungry children, atrocious infections, unimaginable injustices, terror and wars? The long thin pin would burst their satisfaction and the confidence in their decisions.

Soon after, he would start telling of his teachings that spoke of morality, mutual responsibility, acceptance of the other, education, medicine for the masses and give a detailed formula for how we would get there. They would sit, writing, nodding their heads and every one of them wanted Peres to be their personal mentor. He left traces in their hearts and that is why they felt the need to rush to stand with us and personally bid him farewell here in Israel.

Peres would go to schools and turn to students speaking over their teachers and say; “Don’t listen to them – learn, imagine, sail with your dreams and create. You know, better than them, you are up to date – run forward!”

Speaking to older audiences, he would call upon them to return to school, to learn the “new”, the future because their titles were totally out of date. He would say; “You have to be ready for tomorrow!”

Today, when Peres is no longer with us, I constantly have a great thirst, a hunger and restlessness. The boundless levels of adrenaline that I developed on a daily basis are driving me and I continue to race and know that we are commanded to continue conducting a dialogue with tomorrow, to continue staring at the future in its eyes and never ever give up on our values.

Now, it is on our shoulders. Our generation. Our turn has come.


About the Author
Yona Bartal – Peres’ right hand, who accompanied him for over 21 years, was his closest confidant. Partner in the biggest moves, present in the most sensitive meetings and working behind the scenes on the most important decisions, Yona analyzes Peres’ “secret” and explains why he will forever remain the mentor and teacher to many leaders.
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