Shimon Peres was the last of his kind
By Ari Shavit
Unlike other Jews who succeeded him in power, Peres always knew that to be a Jew also meant to be universal and moral; to be on the correct, enlightened side of history.
True, he founded Israel Aircraft Industries (1953), made the decision about the Entebbe Operation (1976), saved Israel from hyperinflation (1985) and got the army out of most of Lebanon (1985). He tried the London agreement (1987) led the Oslo process (1993), and succeeded in turning himself from a controversial politician into a beloved president (2007).
But the real contribution Shimon Peres made to the Jewish state was the amazing work he did in Paris in the mid-1950s that led to the construction of the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Against powerful counterforces, David Ben-Gurion’s sorcerer’s apprentice succeeded in spreading the strategic security net that assured Israel’s existence. Against all odds, the 34-year-old kibbutznik erected above us that invisible glass dome that allows us to lead almost sane lives in this crazy place.
But Peres was never really a kibbutznik. He was a child of the Jewish Diaspora who arrived from Europe before the disaster to the Ben Shemen Youth Village and tried all his life to become an Israeli. He was the beloved grandson of the grandfather killed in the Holocaust, and all his life he tried to flee the past into the future.