He’s 90 years old and the last member of what they call the ‘Founder’s Generation’, those that helped found the State of the Israel back in 1948. He is also a Nobel Prize Winner, the current President of Israel, and is retiring – like I said, at age 90 on June 10th when an election to replace him will be held.
Peres came into office at a time when faith in politicians in Israel had hit rock bottom. Any recovery from that bottom is due in large part to him. Peres assumed office because his predecessor was given a jail sentence for rape. The previous PM, before Netanyahu, just found out he will be spending most of the next decade in jail for corruption. Netanyahu’s government has suffered its own allegations. Above that though, sits Peres who has shown what a dignified politician is supposed to look like, so much so that the current PM Netanyahu despises Peres and wants to do away with the Presidential office because it has shown him up.
You might think at his age Peres would sit back, do a few official events, and call it a day. Not hardly. In fact, I think he has set a new travel record for an Israeli politician. Every day he is out going somewhere and takes more overseas trips than anyone else.
Back in the last election cycle, there was a scandal because Netanyahu insisted on spending nearly a million dollars to have a bed installed on his plane for a 5 hour flight from Israel to London so he and his wife could rest. At the same time, Peres was flying to Asia without any accommodations at all and said he was fine without the bed.
I enjoy watching Peres because he has one of the most fun social media accounts around. I don’t think I follow any other politicians but his is a blast. He’ll show videos of him meeting youth groups, singing at concerts, last night his pics included him watching Tel Aviv winning the European Basketball Championship and this morning he had a pic of his yellow tie to commemorate the event. However, I think my favorite Facebook posting of him ever was during the winter when Jerusalem received a huge snow storm. What did Peres post? Pictures of the snow? Nah. Try a video of him and his bodyguards out in the yard building a snowman and then having a snowball fight with some kids. May we all be having so much fun at age 90.
Peres is a historical figure. He was the main architect of the Oslo Accords – the only peace accord with the Palestinians that has worked, or was until a Jewish settler assassinated Rabin – and even now he negotiated a deal with the Palestinians two years ago but Netanyahu killed the deal. Peres deserves a retirement but you get the feeling he’s going to miss being in the mix. He’s been respectable and honorable. I have no clue who his replacement will be but they have some big shoes to fill.