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Israeli Statesman Shimon Peres Dies
Nobel Peace Prize-winning visionary and former Israeli President Shimon Peres died after seven-decades of public service.
Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel Prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace, has died. He was 93.
In an unprecedented seven-decade political career, Peres filled nearly every position in Israeli public life and was credited with leading the country through some of its most defining moments, from creating its nuclear arsenal in the 1950s, to disentangling its troops from Lebanon and rescuing its economy from triple-digit inflation in the 1980s, to guiding a skeptical nation into peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s.
Above: Peres poses for a portrait at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, Israel on Feb. 8, 2016.
Peres, when he was the Israeli Foreign Minister, signs the Mideast Peace Agreement on the South Lawn of the White House as President Bill Clinton, standing center, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, third from right, and other dignitaries look on, Sept. 13, 1993.
Peres was celebrated by doves and vilified by hawks for advocating far-reaching Israeli compromises for peace even before he negotiated the first interim accord with the Palestinians in 1993 that set into motion a partition plan that gave them limited self-rule.
That was followed by a peace accord with neighboring Jordan. But after a fateful six-month period in 1995-96 that included Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, a spate of Palestinian suicide bombings and Peres' own election loss to the more conservative Benjamin Netanyahu, the prospects for peace began to evaporate.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, also serving as the country's Defense Minister, is greeted by a military honor guard as he arrives at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv Thursday Nov. 23, 1995. Peres was sworn in as Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister, taking over from assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres visits Israeli youths who are out of school and were called to stay inside a shelter in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Dec. 31, 2008. Israel rejected mounting international pressure to suspend its devastating air offensive against Palestinian rockets, sending warplanes to demolish smuggling tunnels that are the lifeline of Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers and civilian population.
Then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer listen to Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert at the site of the construction of a fence close to the Jewish settlement of Gilo on the sourthern edge of Jerusalem, July 10, 2002. The structure being built around the ancient city fenced it off from the Palestinian West Bank.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to then-President Shimon Peres during a Memorial Ceremony on Remembrance Day for the fallen soldiers at Mount Herzel Military Cemetery on April 15, 2013 in Jerusalem.
On Remembrance Day, Israelis honor more than 25,000 men and women who have been killed in combat or conflict since 1860. In accordance with the Jewish calendar, the day is followed by the anniversary of the creation of Israel.
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, former Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wear virtual reality goggles during a ceremony at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, Israel, July 21.
Peres created his non-governmental "Peres Center for Peace" that raised funds for cooperation and development projects involving Israel, the Palestinians and Arab nations. He returned to it at age 91 when he completed his term as president.
Former President of Israel Shimon Peres attends "Intelligence on the World, Europe, and Italy", the 42nd edition of the Ambrosetti International Forum on Sept. 2, in Cernobbio near Como, Italy.
Shimon Perski was born on Aug. 2, 1923, in Vishneva, then part of Poland. He moved to pre-state Palestine in 1934 with his immediate family. His grandfather and other relatives stayed behind and perished in the Holocaust. Rising quickly through Labor Party ranks, he became a top aide to Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister and a man Peres once called "the greatest Jew of our time."
At 29, he was the youngest person to serve as director of Israel's Defense Ministry, and is credited with arming Israel's military almost from scratch. Yet throughout his political career, he suffered from the fact that he never wore an army uniform or fought in a war.
Of his 10 books, several amplified his vision of a "new Middle East" where there was peaceful economic and cultural cooperation among all the nations of the region.
Despite continued waves of violence that pushed the Israeli political map to the right, the concept of a Palestinian state next to Israel became mainstream Israeli policy many years after Peres advocated it.