JTA – Jewish groups in Israel, the United States and around the world lauded Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president who died Sept. 28, as a respected leader and a warrior for peace.
“Peres was always driven by a deep sense of responsibility toward the entire Jewish people. He concerned himself with the fate and future of the entire nation, but also with each of its sons and daughters, both near and far,” Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said.
Sharansky recalled that Peres was “the first Israeli” he saw when he arrived from Russia after his many years in prison and that he would always remember the then-prime minister as “the individual who started the Israeli chapter of my life.”
Ellen Hershkin, the president of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, said her organization lost more than a powerful senior statesman and peacemaker.
“We have lost more than a strong defender of Israel, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a father of the Oslo Accords, a past prime minister and president.” Her members, she said, have lost “a friend.”
European Jewish Council President Moshe Kantor said in a statement: “An important part of our people is no longer with us, and our collective heart is aching.”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris met with Peres many times, both in Israel and the United States.
“Peres had extraordinary energy, boundless optimism and future-oriented vision, not only about the possibilities of peace and coexistence in the region, but also about the exciting pathways of new technologies for the benefit of humankind — from nano-science to mapping the brain,” he said in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League called Peres “the diplomatic, political and social innovation face of Israel over a seven-decade career.”
“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,” Marvin Nathan, the ADL’s national chair, and Jonathan Greenblatt, its CEO, said in a statement.