I always hoped to meet Shimon Peres.
I got close. I was due to meet him at the Israeli Presidential Conference three years ago on his 90th birthday. Sadly the plans for him meeting the bloggers covering the conference changed and I only got to see him from afar when he was part of a panel with Sharon Stone.
I’m saddened because Israel and the Jewish people have lost a true visionary, a man who loved his country and his people so deeply that no job in its service was beneath him. He was quoted as saying “When you do something from love it doesn’t matter what the job is.” This is a man who served Israel is so many different capacities, as minister of defense, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, minister of transportation, prime minister and president.
I saw Peres as something much more than a politician. What I admired about him was his vision and ability to see tomorrow clearer than most people see the past or the present. But it’s even more than that. Shimon Peres was the whole package.
He was a man who accomplished so much. He said that he didn’t want to die while he was still living. As long as he had life in him he wanted to keep moving and doing and he did just that. He worked up until his stroke 2 weeks ago.
I don’t even know everything he accomplished. I didn’t know that he wrote poetry and 11 books. He spoke many languages. He was a creative and imaginative person who sought to constantly increase his knowledge. I didn’t know everything he accomplished but his stamina and staying power over the years etched him into the hearts of so many.
He was an optimist. In his words “Optimists and pessimists die the exact same death, but they live very different lives.” How great would the world be if we all embraced that attitude.
Peres believed in peace but knew that true peace comes from a position of strength. So while he pursued peace he also made sure that Israel’s defense capabilities were at the best.
He embraced change the way he embraced knowledge. He wasn’t afraid to try new things. I remember smiling when he visited Facebook and opened his Facebook account.
He was a dreamer but a dreamer with a clear vision and the gumption to pursue it. He had an important part in turning Israel into the start up nation it is.
He liked to think out of the box. I think it was that ability that wouldn’t let him take no for an answer. As he said, “When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is look for the third that you didn’t think about that doesn’t exist.”
He took a real interest in people and he was interested to hear what they had to say. No one was unimportant to him. He treated people with respect. His funeral had representatives from all walks of life in Israel and from around the world. The fact that so many dignitaries traveled so far to pay their last respects says it all.
I want to thank his family because they made sacrifices so that he could be who he was for his nation. He loved his family and they loved him.
There aren’t enough truly great people in this world and it hurts so much when one leaves this world and leaves us behind to try and carry on a legacy so great.
Shimon Peres taught us to “Find a cause that’s larger than yourself and give your life to it.”
Israel’s tomorrow is now ours to worry about because he is no longer here to look out for Israel’s future with his visionary glasses.
May we remember that Shimon Peres taught us never to lose hope.
May you rest in peace Shimon Peres. May all your dreams for your nation and country come true and may we be learn from your great wisdom and love of life and people.