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September 28, 2016 11:23 am

Israel Mourns Passing of Elder Statesman Shimon Peres

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Israel's President Shimon Peres meets with Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Peres' office in Jerusalem on March 16, 2013. Netanyahu met with Peres to inform the president he has formed a coalition with Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and the Movement party. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90

Israel’s President Shimon Peres meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Peres’ office in Jerusalem on March 16, 2013.  Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90 — Israel mourned the death of former president Shimon Peres Wednesday, as leaders from across the country’s political spectrum paid tribute to the last of the Jewish state’s founding fathers.

A special government session was convened this morning, which began with a moment of silence in Peres’ honor and a eulogy by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said:

I join the Israeli public, the Jewish people and many worldwide, bowing my head in memory of the nation’s beloved, Shimon Peres.

Shimon dedicated his life to our people’s independence. As a visionary, he looked to the future. As a defense official, he worked to bolster Israel in many ways, some elements of which remain covert to this day. As a man of peace, he worked to his last days to promote peace with our neighbors, to forge a better future for our children.

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Netanyahu added, “Today is the first in the history of the state of Israel that the country exists without Shimon.”

President Reuven Rivlin also spoke of Peres’ character and legacy, saying the 93-year-old was, “young at heart and had an unwavering belief in the ability to achieve one’s goals.”

“Peres never stopped creating and dreaming, always in the service of the state of Israel and its people. There is not a chapter in the country’s history in which Shimon did not write or play a part,” Rivlin said.

Peres’ funeral will take place on Friday. He will lie in state at the Knesset Plaza on Thursday, to allow the public to bid farewell to a main character in Israel’s political and diplomatic activities.

Dozens of world leaders are expected to attend the state service, which will be held at the Great Leaders of the Nation’s plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

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