Quotes from around the world after the death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and elder statesman of Israeli politics, at age 93.
President Barack Obama: “A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever. Shimon Peres was a soldier for Israel, for the Jewish people, for justice, for peace, and for the belief that we can be true to our best selves — to the very end of our time on Earth, and in the legacy that we leave to others. For the gift of his friendship and the example of his leadership, todah rabah, Shimon.”
Former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton:
“With the passing of Shimon Peres, Israel has lost a leader who championed its security, prosperity, and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on earth. The Middle East has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation and for a future where all the children of Abraham build a better tomorrow together. And Hillary and I have lost a true and treasured friend.
“I’ll never forget how happy he was 23 years ago when he signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn, heralding a more hopeful era in Israeli-Palestinian relations. He was a genius with a big heart who used his gifts to imagine a future of reconciliation not conflict, economic and social empowerment not anger and frustration, and a nation, a region, and a world enhanced by caring and sharing, not torn asunder by the illusions of permanent dominance and perfect truth. His critics called him a dreamer. That he was — a lucid, eloquent dreamer until the very end. Thank goodness. Let those of us who loved him and love his nation keep his dream alive.”
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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “I am more sad than words can express. This is a man who was a political giant, a statesman who will rank as one of the foremost of this era or any era, and someone I loved deeply. He was an inspiration, a mentor and a friend. His intellect, his way with words that was eloquent beyond description, his command of the world and how it was changing were extraordinary.
“Though he grew older, his spirit never did. Above all, his commitment to peace and his belief that it was in the interests of the country he adored marked him out as a visionary whose vision was never dimmed or displaced. He saw every setback as a spur to further action and every moment of hope as a sign of what could be done.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara express deep personal sorrow over the passing of the nation’s beloved former president, Shimon Peres. The prime minister will deliver a special address this morning and convene the cabinet for a mourning session.”
Chemi Peres: “Today with deep sorrow we bid farewell to our beloved father, the 9th president of Israel. Our father’s legacy has always been to look to tomorrow. We were privileged to be part of his private family, but today we sense that the entire nation of Israel and the global community share this great loss. We share this pain together.”
Former President George H.W. Bush:
“Barbara and I join Shimon Peres’ countless admirers around the world in saluting his singular life of service — to the universal cause of freedom, to the timeless cause of Israel, to the noblest cause of peace. By his unyielding determination and principle, Shimon Peres time and again helped guide his beloved country through the crucible of mortal challenge. But it was by his innate humanity, his decency, that Shimon inspired the world over and helped pave a path to peace broad enough that future generations will walk it one day, side-by side.”
Former President George W. Bush: “Laura and I join the people of Israel and those around the world in mourning the death of Shimon Peres. As a young man, he worked for his country’s independence. For the rest of his life, he led it with a deep and abiding concern for his people and a commitment to freedom and peace. The Bush family will miss Shimon Peres and his grace, dignity, and optimism.”
Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York: On behalf of the entire New York Jewish community, we deeply mourn the passing of Shimon Peres, one of the greatest Jewish leaders of our time. President Peres was one of the extraordinary visionaries of our age, a towering Zionist hero of deep courage who devoted his life to serving and defending Israel and the Jewish people.”
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan: “The world has lost a true legend and statesman. Shimon Peres was a gift to the country he helped establish and lead, and a persistent voice for the cause of peace. President Peres’ countless contributions to the world earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. While we join the State of Israel and people around the globe in mourning his death, we also give thanks for his incredible life.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Shimon Peres’ story was the story of modern Israel — a saga of daring, dynamism and wisdom. With all of his heart, this farmer, fighter, author, Nobel Peace Prize winner, prime minister and president worked to guide his nation into a secure and confident future. I valued his friendship. He was an intellectual resource who personified the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “My wife Lucy had the honor of visiting Shimon Peres a few months ago, at the Peres Centre for Peace. He told her the secret of perpetual youth was to ensure that your list of dreams always remained longer than your list of achievements. On that test, Shimon Peres remained the youngest of leaders.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Shimon Peres was a statesman, a man of peace, and a friend. He was a voice of tolerance in a region and a time of intolerance. I had the honor of working with him on the Oslo Peace Accords, and more recently on developing a new partnership between researchers in Chicago and Israel working to address critical water shortages in arid climates. He had the rare combination of vision, compassion, humility and humanity that can inspire individuals around the world and across generations. Amy’s and my thoughts and prayers are with the Peres family and the millions of people of every nationality and faith who were moved by his example and are mourning his loss. May his memory be for a blessing.
U.S. Rep. Peter J. Roskam, R-Ill.: “Shimon Peres was a true Israeli hero and a source of great inspiration to me personally. He defended the Jewish people with an iron fist while relentlessly seeking peace and extending an open hand to Israel’s neighbors. He chose not to be a cynic, famously ‘preferr[ing] to live as an optimist’ because ‘optimists and pessimists die the same way, they just live differently.’ Shimon Peres did more with his time on Earth than most people could accomplish in 3 or 4 lifetimes. “May his memory be a blessing for the world to come. We mourn with the Peres family and the entire nation of Israel.”