Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The impossible dream

Israeli President Shimon Peres is 90 years old. This puts Israel into a special category, the only nation with a 90 year old President.  Last night was his birthday party, and before a large audience consisting of PM Netanyahu, former US President Bill Clinton, former British PM Tony Blair and numerous show business personalities, including Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, Al Pacino and more, he explained his political philosophy.  What it comes down to is the same as the "Man of La Mancha", "to dream the impossible dream," to tilt at windmills, to keep going with indomitable determination despite the evident pitfalls.
Shimon Peres was born in a small village in what is now Belarus.  He left with his family for "Palestine" when he was 11 years old in 1934.  He kissed his beloved grandfather goodbye and never saw him again, the whole family was murdered by the Nazis.  His family settled in Rosh Pinna, a small village in Galilee.  Shimon began his ascending rise to power as a youth leader and under the influence of David Ben-Gurion became in turn a leader of the Israeli Labor Party and eventually Defense Minister and Prime Minister.  He was known as a supporter of technology and was responsible for Israel developing nuclear technology as well as supporting the development of hi-tech industries. Throughout his career he was a rival of Yitzhak Rabin and was considered to be a "loser" for his many defeats by Rabin and others in elections.  Yet he persisted and never gave up.
Shimon Peres started out as a "hawk" but eventually became a "dove."  He pushed for peace talks and reconciliation with the Palestinians and was chiefly responsible for the Oslo Accords of 1993.  He persuaded Rabin who was then PM to go along with this policy.  Many people blame Peres for the subsequent round of terrorism instituted by Yasir Arafat who was rescued from Tunisia by Rabin-Peres and brought back to head the Palestine Authority.   Although some accuse him of being responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis, nevertheless, Peres continues doggedly to pursue his impossible dream of peace with the Palestinians.  Maybe if he lives to be 120 he might realize that dream.


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