118 Facts About Shimon Peres


Shimon Peres was an Israeli politician who served as the eighth prime minister of Israel from 1984 to 1986 and from 1995 to 1996 and as the ninth president of Israel from 2007 to 2014.


Shimon Peres was a member of twelve cabinets and represented five political parties in a political career spanning 70 years.


Shimon Peres represented Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima in the Knesset, and led Alignment and Labor.


Shimon Peres first succeeded Yitzhak Rabin as acting prime minister briefly during 1977, before becoming prime minister from 1984 to 1986.


Shimon Peres was born Szymon Perski, on 2 August 1923, in Wiszniew, Poland, to Yitzhak and Sara Perski.


The family spoke Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian at home, and Shimon Peres learned Polish at school.


Shimon Peres's father was a wealthy timber merchant, later branching out into other commodities; his mother was a librarian.

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Shimon Peres told Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson that he had been born as a result of a blessing his parents had received from a chassidic rebbe and that he was proud of it.


In 1932, Shimon Peres's father immigrated to Mandatory Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv.


Shimon Peres attended Balfour Elementary School and High School, and Geula Gymnasium in Tel Aviv.


In 1944, Shimon Peres led an illicit expedition into the Negev, then a closed military zone requiring a permit to enter.


All of the participants were sentenced to two weeks in prison, and as the leader, Shimon Peres was heavily fined.


The expedition came across a nest of bearded vultures, called peres in Hebrew, and from this Shimon Peres took his Hebrew name.


In 1945, Shimon Peres married Sonya Gelman, who preferred to remain outside the public eye.


In 1947, Shimon Peres joined the Haganah, the predecessor of the Israel Defense Forces.


Shimon Peres was director of the Defense Ministry's delegation in the United States in the early 1950s.


In 1952, Shimon Peres was appointed deputy director general of the Ministry of Defense, and the following year, he was promoted to director general.


Shimon Peres was involved in arms purchases and establishing strategic alliances that were important for the State of Israel.


Shimon Peres was instrumental in establishing close relations with France, securing massive amounts of quality arms that, in turn, helped to tip the balance of power in the region.


Shimon Peres continued as a primary intermediary in the close French-Israeli alliance from the mid-1950s, although from 1958, he was often involved in tense negotiations with Charles de Gaulle over the Dimona project.


Shimon Peres is considered to have been the architect of Israel's secret nuclear weapons program in the 1960s, and he stated that, in the 1960s, he recruited Arnon Milchan, an Israeli-American Hollywood film producer, billionaire businessman, and secret arms dealer and intelligence operative, to work for the Israeli Bureau of Scientific Relations, a secret intelligence organization tasked with obtaining military technology and science espionage.


From 1954, as director general of the Ministry of Defense, Shimon Peres was involved in the planning of the 1956 Suez War, in partnership with France and Britain.


Shimon Peres was sent by David Ben-Gurion to Paris, where he held secret meetings with the French government.


Shimon Peres was instrumental in negotiating the Franco-Israeli agreement for a military offensive.


At Sevres, Shimon Peres took part in planning alongside Maurice Bourges-Maunoury, Christian Pineau and Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces General Maurice Challe, and British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd and his assistant Sir Patrick Dean.

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Shimon Peres was first elected to the Knesset in the 1959 elections as a member of the Mapai party.


Shimon Peres was given the role of deputy minister of defense, which he filled until 1965.


Shimon Peres resigned from the 12th government in late May 1965, citing the growing rift between Prime Minister Eshkol and former prime minister Ben-Gurion.


In 1969, Shimon Peres was appointed minister of immigrant absorption in the 15th government, and in 1970, he became minister of transportation and communications.


Shimon Peres was appointed minister of defense in the Yitzhak Rabin-led 17th government, after having been Rabin's chief rival for the post of Labor Party leader in the 1974 Israeli Labor Party leadership election that was held after Golda Meir resigned in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War.


Shimon Peres felt acquiescing to be a nonstarter, believing it would encourage further terrorism.


Shimon Peres felt that negotiating with terrorists would, in effect, be a surrender, and thought a rescue operation should be planned.


Shimon Peres organized a secret Israel Crisis Committee to come up with a rescue plan.


Shimon Peres later said of Netanyahu's explanation, "My impression was one of exactitude and imagination," saying that Netanyahu seemed confident the operation would succeed with almost no losses.


Netanyahu left the meeting understanding that Shimon Peres would do everything in his power to see that the operation went smoothly.


Shimon Peres then went unannounced to Moshe Dayan, the former minister of Ddfense, interrupting his dinner with friends in a restaurant, to show him the latest plan to get his opinion.


Shimon Peres told Dayan of the objections that had been raised by Rabin and Chief of Staff, Mordechai Gur.


Shimon Peres then took the plan to Rabin, who had been lukewarm and still didn't like the risks, but he reluctantly approved the plan after Shimon Peres answered a number of key questions and Rabin learned that the cabinet had endorsed it.


At the time, Rabin and Shimon Peres presented little policy difference, with Shimon Peres being seen as only slightly to the right of Rabin on domestic matters.


Shimon Peres made himself a candidate to replace him as the new Labor Party leader.


However, Allon and Shimon Peres reached an agreement that Shimon Peres would appoint Allon to any ministerial position that Allon preferred in exchange from his withdrawal of his candidacy.


Rabin ended his active service as prime minister on 22 April 1977, and Shimon Peres became Israel's unofficial acting prime minister.


The reason why Shimon Peres was not officially the holder of this office was that Rabin could not, under Israeli law, resign from his position as prime minister because the government was, at the time, a caretaker government.


Once the Likud-led government took power, Labor and the Alignment bloc entered the Knesset opposition for the first time in its history, and Shimon Peres assumed the unofficial role of Knesset opposition leader.


In 1978, Shimon Peres was elected vice president of Socialist International.

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Shimon Peres was regarded to be a popular prime minister in his two years as premier under the rotation arrangement.


In 1985, Shimon Peres publicly supported the quick pursuit of a military pullback from Beirut to Israel's south Lebanon security belt.


Conditional on him implementing reforms, Shimon Peres secured emergency economic assistance from the United States of $750 million annually over a two-year period.


Shimon Peres was initially hesitant to take the drastic measures that he ultimately would pursue, as they had the strong potential of proving unpopular and came with a risk of potentially creating a drastic increase in unemployment.


Shimon Peres ultimately was convinced to push through the 1985 Israel Economic Stabilization Plan.


In 1988 the Alignment, led by Shimon Peres, suffered another narrow defeat.


Shimon Peres agreed to renew the grand coalition with the Likud, this time conceding the premiership to Shamir for the entire term.


Shimon Peres' hope had been to create a Labor-led government that would be focused on peace talks with Palestine.


Shimon Peres succeeded in ending the government twenty-third government with a vote of no confidence.


However, Shimon Peres was unable to assemble enough Knesset partners to form a pro-peace talk government.


Shimon Peres led the opposition in the Knesset from 1990 until early 1992, when he was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin in the Israeli Labor Party leadership election, the first leadership election held since the party formally merged with the other parties of Alignment, and the first leadership election open to participation by the party's entire membership.


Shimon Peres had previously served as foreign minister from 1986 through 1988.


Shimon Peres was involved in secret peace negotiations between Prime Minister Rabin's government and Arafat's PLO organization.


On 13 September 1993, Shimon Peres signed the initial Oslo I Accord on behalf of the Israeli government at in a ceremony at the United States' White House, with Rabin in attendance.


Negotiations on further terms continued, with Shimon Peres continuing to be an integral player.


On 15 November 1995, Shimon Peres was invited by to form a new government.


On 10 February 1996, Shimon Peres made the widely expected announcement that he would call early elections, moving the elections to late May, five months earlier than they otherwise were to be held.


Shimon Peres had hoped that early elections would deliver a mandate for his pursuit of a two-state solution.


Shimon Peres had called the elections early because of promising polls.


Shimon Peres was heavily leading in the polls for the prime minister vote at the time the election was called, with polls showing him to have between a twenty and twenty-five percent lead.

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However, even in the last month before the election, Shimon Peres enjoyed a smaller lead of around five percent.


Shimon Peres was narrowly defeated by Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1996 Israeli prime ministerial election.


Shimon Peres did not seek re-election as Labor Party leader in 1997 and was replaced by Ehud Barak that year.


For nearly all of time in this position, Shimon Peres was not given a major role in the government.


On 1 November 2000, amid the Second Intifada, Shimon Peres met in the Gaza Strip with Arafat on behalf of the Israeli government, and the two agreed to terms of a truce in the early hours of the next morning.


Katsav's victory was attributed in part to evidence that Shimon Peres planned to use the position to support the increasingly unpopular peace processes of the government of Ehud Barak.


Shimon Peres' defeat was considered a significant upset, as he had been thought to be heavily favored to win the Knesset vote.


On 20 November 2000, amid polls showing him to be in a virtual-tie with Ariel Sharon, an aide of Shimon Peres told the media that he would run in the 2001 direct election for prime minister.


In January 2001, there was some talk among Cabinet members that it would be best for Shimon Peres to be the candidate of the left.


Shimon Peres led helped Labor into a grand coalition unity government with Sharon's Likud and secured the post of foreign minister.


Shimon Peres was much criticized on the left for clinging to his position as foreign minister in a government that was not seen as advancing the peace process, despite his own dovish stance.


Shimon Peres left this office only when Labor resigned from the government in advance of the 2003 Knesset election.


Shimon Peres left his post as foreign minister following Labor's 2002 exit from the unity government.


Shimon Peres led the Labor Party into a coalition with Sharon once more, reaching an agreement the end of 2004, and entering the party into the thirtieth government of Israel in January 2005.


Shimon Peres claimed that an early election would jeopardize both the September 2005 Gaza withdrawal plan and the standing of the party in a national unity government with Sharon.


Shimon Peres lost a bid for permanent leadership of the Labor Party to Amir Peretz in the November 2005 leadership election, held in advance of the 2006 elections.


On 30 November 2005 Shimon Peres announced that he was leaving the Labor Party to support Ariel Sharon and his new Kadima party.


Shimon Peres had previously announced his intention not to run in the March 2006 elections, but changed his mind.


Shimon Peres resigned from the Knesset on 15 January 2006 due both to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz issuing a decision that ruled Shimon Peres and several others could not be appointed to ministerial posts by Prime Minister Olmert and because of a law that, due to him having switched parties, would have prevented him from running for the next Knesset if he remained an incumbent member of the Knesset.


Shimon Peres was elected back to the Knesset in the 2006 election, this time as a member of Kadima.

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On 13 June 2007, Shimon Peres was elected president of the State of Israel by the Knesset.


Shimon Peres resigned from his role as a member of the Knesset the same day, having been a member since November 1959, the longest serving in Israeli political history.


On 20 November 2008, Shimon Peres received an honorary knighthood, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George from Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace in London.


Shimon Peres announced in April 2013 that he would not seek to extend his tenure beyond 2014.


In July 2016, Shimon Peres founded the 'Israel innovation center' in the Arab neighbourhood of Ajami, Jaffa, aiming to encourage young people from around the world to be inspired by technology.


On 13 September 2016, Shimon Peres suffered a severe stroke and was hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center.


Shimon Peres's condition was reported to be very serious, as he had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and significant bleeding.


Shimon Peres described himself as a "Ben-Gurionist", after his mentor Ben-Gurion.


Shimon Peres felt that Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was a means to a progressive end in which the State of Israel both inspire the world and survive in a region of the world where it was unwelcome.


Shimon Peres was a protege of Ben-Gurion and Dayan and an early supporter of the West Bank settlers during the 1970s.


Shimon Peres met secretly with Hussein in London in 1987 and reached a framework agreement with him, but this was rejected by Israel's then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir.


Subsequently, Shimon Peres gradually moved closer to support for talks with the PLO, although he avoided making an outright commitment to this policy until 1993.


Shimon Peres was perhaps more closely associated with the Oslo Accords than any other Israeli politician with the possible exception of his own protege, Yossi Beilin.


Shimon Peres remained an adamant supporter of the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian Authority since their inception despite the First Intifada and the al-Aqsa Intifada.


However, Shimon Peres supported Ariel Sharon's military policy of operating the Israeli Defense Forces to thwart suicide bombings.


Shimon Peres is regarded as one of the founders of Israel's technology sector.


Shimon Peres believed that brain research would be the key to a better and more peaceful future.


Shimon Peres launched his own nanotechnology investment fund in 2003, raising $5 million in the first week.


In May 1945, Shimon Peres married Sonya Gelman, whom he had met in the Ben Shemen Youth Village, where her father served as a carpentry teacher.


Sonya Peres was unable to attend Shimon's 2007 presidential inauguration ceremony because of ill health.

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Shimon Peres died on 20 January 2011, aged 87, from heart failure at her apartment in Tel Aviv.


Chemi Shimon Peres is a former helicopter pilot in the IAF.


Shimon Peres was a polyglot, speaking Polish, French, English, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew.


Shimon Peres never lost his Polish accent when speaking in Hebrew.


Shimon Peres was inspired to write, including during cabinet meetings.


Shimon Peres was noted to sometimes write stanzas during Cabinet meetings.


Shimon Peres's songs have been performed by artists including Andrea Bocelli and Liel Kolet.


Shimon Peres served as president from 15 July 2007 through 24 July 2014.


Shimon Peres was a member of the Knesset, first from November 1959 through 15 January 2006, and again from March 2006 through 13 June 2007.


Shimon Peres was the unofficial opposition leader from 20 June 1977 through 13 September 1984, during the entirety of the 9th and 10th Knessets.


Shimon Peres thrice served as leader of the Israeli Labor Party.


Shimon Peres held numerous ministerial posts over the course of his Knesset tenure.


From 1952 through 1953, Shimon Peres was the deputy director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.