Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized former president Shimon Peres at his funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on Friday.
Netanyahu called Peres one of the “founding fathers” of Israel. “That so many leaders came from around the world to say farewell to Shimon is a testament to his optimism,” he said.
“It’s no secret that Shimon and me were political rivals, but over the years we became friends, even close friends,” he said.
Describing their disagreements as members of the political Right and Left respectively, Netanyahu described how Peres would tell him “Peace is the real security, if there will be peace there will be security.” Netanyahu for his part would tell Peres that security is more important, that it is a necessary precursor to peace.
Netanyahu said that both he and Peres were right: that only the strong survive in the Middle East, but power is only a means to achieving peace and prosperity.
President Reuven Rivlin spoke prior to Netanyahu, calling Peres a true visionary, patriot, and a “man of deeds” who worked tirelessly for the Jewish State.
“I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, ‘as one President to another’, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice,” Rivlin reminisced.
“As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision,” Rivlin continued, “Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds.”
“You had the rare ability Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. ”
Rivlin concluded by stating: “This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel.”