Laureen and I were saddened today to learn of the passing of President Shimon Peres, a towering figure in the history of the State of Israel and one of the great statesmen of our age.
Shimon Peres’ long and distinguished political career was animated by a tireless spirit of patriotism, faith, and public service. His was a life of sacrifice not only for his country and its citizens, but the very idea of Israel — the dream of a safe and prosperous Jewish state able to live in confident peace with its neighbours. Defeat and setback never deterred him, and his quiet humility and perseverance made him a model of dignity and an inspiration to the world. As a man who served his government in so many different capacities over so many decades, he demonstrated it was indeed possible to transcend the myopic world of politics in the pursuit of permanent ideals.
I was honoured to meet Shimon Peres several times during the course of my own public life, and was consistently moved by his depth of knowledge and strength of character. It seemed remarkably appropriate that he was asked to spend his final years holding Israel’s highest office, a position perfectly suited for a man who had come to so thoroughly embody the spirit, values, and virtues of the remarkable nation to which he devoted his life.