Shimon Peres, President of Israel, is celebrating 90 years today. There’s a big happening taking place in Jerusalem right now, with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone and dozens of other VIPs in attendance.
There is some public criticism about the lavish celebration and its cost, and frankly I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the extravaganza myself. But if anyone in this country deserves such a celebration, it’s Shimon Peres. The man has done so much for this country that it’s almost impossible to list it all. Here’s a small sample:
Peres built the defense industry in Israel. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for the “textile plant” in the Negev that nobody is supposed to know about and which gave (and still gives) Israel the ability to avoid being annihilated by its neighbours. He was Defense Minister, Finance Minister (and saved Israel from stagflation), twice Prime Minister. He did his best to get to an agreement with the Palestinians, and is a Peace Nobel prize winner. He wrote more than twenty books. And, first and foremost, he is the most recognisable face of Israel with it comes to statesmanship and leadership.
So on this day all one should say to Shimon Peres is “thank you” and, as the traditional Jewish saying goes: “may you live to be 120”. Mazal Tov!