Former Israeli President Shimon Peres has died at 93
JERUSALEM — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres has died at 93, two weeks after suffering major stroke.
Peres had been at the hospital since his stroke September 13.
Doctors had signaled cautious optimism a day after Peres’ hospitalization, saying that although he was intubated and sedated, he was able to shake his son-in-law’s hand as his level of sedation was reduced.
In Israeli politics for more than half a century
Peres has been a political force for much of the modern Jewish state’s existence. By the time the Labor Party veteran retired from public office in 2014 at the end of a seven-year term as President, he had been in Israeli politics for more than half a century.
He held virtually every position in Israel’s Cabinet, including minister of defense and Prime Minister, a position he held three times, including once in an interim role.
As foreign minister under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, he concluded the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 with Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
After Rabin’s assassination in 1995, Peres became Prime Minister, calling early elections so the government would have a mandate to pursue a two-state solution. But a wave of Palestinian suicide attacks left Peres struggling to defend the peace process, ultimately costing him the next election.
Continued work for peace in the Middle East
He addressed the Turkish parliament in 2007, becoming the first Israeli President to speak to a Muslim country’s legislature. He called for peace talks in 2011 with the Palestinians and warned the United Nations against recognizing the Palestinian territories as an independent state outside a peace plan.
He has remained in the public eye, continuing his work for peace in the Middle East.
In a 2015 interview with CNN, Peres expressed support for a nuclear deal with Iran and said it would be feasible for inspectors to enforce the terms of the agreement.
In July, he laid the cornerstone for the Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Peace House in Tel Aviv with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The center aims to showcase Israel’s technology achievements and encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The elder statesman had other health scares earlier this year.
Peres was rushed to the hospital in mid-January after suffering a minor heart attack. He underwent emergency surgery and got a stent but would not be slowed down, asking the doctor how soon before he would be up and running again. He returned to the hospital 10 days later after suffering from an irregular heartbeat.