Peres Shimon, 1923 - 2016, Year won 1994, architect of Israel's defense industry and visionary of a "New Middle East" in the era of peace..
Shimon Peres was born in 1923 in Vishneva, Poland, and at the age of 11 settled in what was then Palestine. He was a pupil at the “Geoula” school in Tel-Aviv and later at the Ben Shemen youth village. As a member of a youth group he joined Kvutsat Alumot in the Galiliee.
On the eve of the establishment of the state of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, extremely impressed by the young and talented Peres, recruited him for some missions within the framework of the Hagana. Peres rapidly made a name for himself as a man of administrative and intellectual capacity in whom Ben-Gurion had complete faith and who became his confidant in matters concerning the ministry of defense. Within a few years Shimon Peres became director general of the ministry and later, Deputy Minister of Defense.
Peres devoted himself to ensuring that Israel received modern weapons systems from abroad, and later through the establishment of the Israel Defense Industries, and through a nuclear research infrastructure.
After the Yom Kippur War, Shimon Peres was appointed minister of defense in the first government formed by Yitsshak Rabin, and in this capacity he orchestrated “Operation Jonathan” to free the Israeli hostages being held in Entebbe, Uganda.
Following the election upset that brought Menachem Begin to power, Peres became leader of the defeated labor party. It was the previously Hawkish Peres who categorically declared, that world reality had changed and that a strong Israel was sufficient in order for it not to flinch from the creation of a new peaceful Middle East.
Following the formation of the National Unity government in 1984, he was prime minister for the first two years and then in accordance with the rotation agreement between him and Yitshak Shamir, he then became foreign minister and later minister of finance.
In 1992, with the election victory of the Labor Party led by Yitshak Rabin, Peres was again appointed foreign minister and after many years of conflict between the two leaders, an agreed division of spheres of activity was created which led to cooperation and friendship.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shimon Peres , was active on all levels in order to accelerate the peace process. His efforts bore fruit, and after a century of hostility, a dramatic turning point was reached at Oslo with the mediation of the Norwegian foreign minister: talks were held between the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by Yasser Arafat, and an official Israel, and a declaration of principles was signed prior to a permanent arrangement between the two peoples.
The first steps on the road to an agreed solution of the Palestinian problem led the way to the signing, in October 1994, of a full peace treaty between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the slow development of normal relations with the majority of the Arab nations.
This historical dialogue won international acclaim when Shimon Peres, Yitshak Rabin and Yasser Arafat were awarded the 1994 Nobel peace prize for their courage on the way to the desired goal.
The peace process, however, met opposition from radical elements on both sides. Besides increased Arab terrorism, extremist Jewish circles mounted an unbridled campaign of incitement that reached its climax with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin on October 4, 1995.
Shimon Peres’s nomination as prime minister was approved by the Kenesset almost unopposed, and he declared his determination to maintain and accelerate the peace process with all Israel’s Arab neighbors.