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Israel’s Last Founding Father

During his nearly seven-decade career, Shimon Peres reached lofty heights and suffered humiliating failures. A security hawk who became an ardent peacemaker, he maintained a love-hate relationship with an Israeli public that declined to elect him Prime Minister but admired him when he neither held nor sought real power.

TEL AVIV – In 2006, a year before Shimon Peres was elected as Israel’s president, Michael Bar-Zohar published the Hebrew edition of his Peres biography. It was aptly titled Like a Phoenix: by then, Peres had been active in Israeli politics and public life for more than 60 years.

Peres’s career had its ups and downs. He reached lofty heights and suffered humiliating failures – and went through several incarnations. A pillar of Israel’s national security leadership, he subsequently became an ardent peacemaker, always maintaining a love-hate relationship with an Israeli public that consistently declined to elect him Prime Minister but admired him when he did not have or seek real power.

Undeterred by adversity, Peres kept pushing forward, driven by ambition and a sense of mission, and aided by his talents and creativity. He was a self-taught man, a voracious reader, and a prolific writer, a man moved and inspired every few years by a new idea: nanoscience, the human brain, Middle Eastern economic development.

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