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Shimon Peres Becomes Israel’s 9th President

Katzav, Gila & Peres
In a ceremony fraught with pageantry and fanfare, Former Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres was sworn in July 15 as the 9th President of the State of Israel. In a moving Knesset ceremony, Peres took the oath of what is usually a largely ceremonial position similar to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. In his acceptance speech afterwards, however, Peres (who usually loves to be in the center of governmental goings-on) indicated that his term of office will be anything but ceremonial, with the new president volunteering to go on various peace missions on the government’s behalf.

Despite his advanced age (83) Peres seems to be in excellent health, and loves to travel abroad and hobnob with foreign government leaders and other dignitaries. This means that he may become the county’s first globe trotting President and will undoubtedly not wait even for the paint on the door of his new office in Beit Hanasi to dry before he leaves on his first international assignment; most likely to either the USA or the UK – both favorite destinations for a man who has literally been in nearly every major world capital, including Olso Norway, where he jointly accepted the Nobel Peace Price in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

After nearly 50 years of governmental and political activities, Peres has finally found a position that most suits his wide and diversified career in public life. In a way it’s a shame he didn’t have this opportunity seven years ago when he barely lost out to Likud political party rival Moshe Katsav, who has now left the presidency in disgrace following his admittance to being involved in a number of incidents of sexual misconduct. Katsav is also being accused of at least two counts of rape, which were dropped by Israel State Prosecutor Manny Mazuz in an effort to keep an already scandalous incident from becoming an embarrassing public trial.

Shimon Peres’ ascension to the presidency will hopefully do much to erase the pall that has been cast on this office by both Katsav and Katsav’s predecessor Ezer Weizman, who wasn’t ashamed to speak his mind; even if his remarks were frequently taken out of context by the press. Peres brings an air of dignity to an office where dignity and protocol are two of the most important aspects. With Peres in this position, not only will he be meeting foreign dignitaries when they arrive in Israel, he himself will be going to meet them on their home ground; where Peres feels as much at home as he does in Jerusalem.

Despite his wife, Sonia being in ill health, Peres will undoubtedly volunteer to be his country’s official peace envoy for as long as he is able to do so. And judging from the current state of affairs that Israel finds itself in, peace is something that Israel sorely needs. If Shimon can make a positive contribution towards this end, his final position in public life will be more than fitting for a man who has dedicated a great deal of his life to the cause of peace.

Moshik has Katsav asking his wife, Gila, how is Peres going to handle the job without his wife…

Peres Running Again – Run Forest Run …

Peres is running for President in place of Katzav (Mr. Schlong!). The question is, will he win? I mean Peres has a bad track record when it comes to winning anything really. Moshik! is wondering if he would win if he ran against himself…


Peres Running

DiCaprio and Peres Meeting

Peres & DiCaprio This is sort of an odd picture I thought. I got it from People.

Israeli Vice Premier and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres requested a meeting with DiCaprio, 32, within hours of the actor’s March 11 arrival in Tel Aviv with his Israeli girlfriend, model Bar Refaeli, 21, a Peres aide tells PEOPLE.

“The meeting was pleasant and interesting,” says the aide. “Shimon told Leo about his Peace Valley project [a joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian economic development plan] and Leo spoke about [11th Hour,] his documentary on the environment.”

The aide says Peres asked DiCaprio to help promote the stalled Middle East peace process and to further campaign for protecting the environment globally. According to the source, DiCaprio promised to help on both issues.

DiCaprio was plagued by local photographers and barely escaped in Jerusalem the other day. He stayed with Bar’s family in Hod HaSahron. They had a tearful goodbye at the airport and seem to be good together. Hope he comes again 😉

Marathon Man

It seems like Israel’s oldest active politician, Shimon Peres (shown at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo in 1994) is still having a go at it like an aging Marathon runner, in regards to his plan to once again run for President of the State of Israel. Despite his age, 82, and the allegations against him concerning the way he recruited more than $320,000 in ‘questionable’ political contributions, the aging political icon just refuses to retire, and become a full-fledged pensioner.

And why should he, with the average of the members of the newly formed Pensioners being around 75, and party leaders like Rafi Eitan themselves either pushing or crossing the octogenarian mark. Though not a member of Eitan’s party, Peres, since his bolt from his 60 year membership in the Labor Party, has virtually embarked on a new political horizon; thanks to Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party. Peres is alleged to have received the quasi-legal contributions from some very affluent people, including billionaires Haim Saben, Bruce Rappaport, and Daniel Abrahams. Even though the receipt of the money is not considered illegal, the ethics of the circumstances surrounding the affair could have been a bit more “Kosher”.

Peres still intends to keep his hat in the presidential candidacy ring, however, and the question now is whether he will be able to achieve his goal, and come out a real winner, after so many times of winding up on the losing side. After all, his long political career, though colorful, has not exactly been a successful one. Though he has been Prime Minister twice, the first time in a shared national unity platform with former Likud Party leader Yitzhak Shamir, and the second time following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Peres has certainly had his trials and tribulations in the tumulus world of Israeli politics. Even his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize only happened at the last minute following the nomination of Rabin and Yassir Afafat. Perhaps it was Arafat’s winning a share of the 1994 Peace Prize that convinced the Nobel Prize Committee to include Peres in receiving the award that year.

Peres’ often frank and one-sided political views have often hindered him, especially in a part of the world; where Jews like himself are definitely not welcome – or wanted. It’s often been a visual reality that despite his overtures towards establishing peaceful co-existence with Israel’s Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians, these “neighbors’ just don’t want to be neighborly. Events following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and certainly since the beginning of the Second Intifada in September, 2000, clearly point this out.

Despite all of this, Peres continues to pursue his dream of working out a deal with the Palestinians, and other peoples in the region, and through his Peres Center for Peace he tries to continue a dialogue with more moderate elements in a less than moderate part of the world. Many people, including this writer, would like to believe there is a possibility of peaceful co-existence between Israel and its neighbors. Shimon won’t live forever, however; and one wonders who will pick up and carry the baton after he’s gone.

Picture: bbc.co.uk

Peres to Rosenblum – The Political Spectrum

I was watching a popular talk show last night and it was interesting to see the wide spectrum we have in the Knesset today. On the Yair Lapid Show, a talk show on Israel’s Arutz 2, there were two members of Knesset getting interviewed.

Shimon Peres on Yair Lapid

The first was Shimon Peres (82). Shimon Peres is a veteran in the political scene, an ex Prime Minster, one of the early founders of the Labour party and recently joined Kadima, Ariel Sharon’s party. He was the last one to speak to Sharon before his stroke this week and when asked whether he considered him a friend he answered that he did. Despite their rivalry over the years there is a mutual respect there.

Peres is currently writing his 14th book, is a world renowned politician and has been in the political arena for close to 60 years. He may be somewhat removed from the man on the street but no doubt is a very intelligent and a scholar. He had a good sense of humor in the show and when Yair implied that he and Benjamin Netanyahu were the most ridiculed of all MK’s, he insisted the title was rightfully his. Although mud slinging is a national sport for politicians in Israel, Peres has always tried to keep his hands clean and not respond to the many assaults he received over the years.

The interviewer asked a final question: “What would you like written on your tombstone?” Peres responded: “Passed away before his time”.

Pnina Rosenblum on Yair Lapid

The next Knesset member to be interviewed on the show was the newly appointed Likud member, Pnina Rosenblum (50). Running 39th in the Likud Primaries she got bumped into the seat when MK Tzachi Hanegbi left to join Kadima. She was sworn in 2 weeks ago and is now the latest edition to the Knesset.

Pnina was a model in the early 70’s and was known as a provocative sexy bombshell. There were affairs, rumors and scandals associated with her early years. She later started a singing career and continued on to launch a successful cosmetics company that today employs 150 people.

She was a little defensive in the interview and some of the answers to her questions were a little corky. She sees herself as a fighter for women’s rights and against discrimination (a sore subject and one that can use the attention). Her political career maybe very short as the number for the Likud party now seem to be in the low teens, implying that only 11-13 MK’s will represent the Likud after March. Until then however, Pnina is determined to do as much as she can with the time she has.

When asked what she would like to have written on her tombstone she answered: ”Here lies Pnina Rosenblum – Israel’s Prime Minister 2010-2016.”

Hey you never know …

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