A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 15 , 2007 Shimon Peres Israel's Ninth President
Shimon Peres was inaugurated as the 9th President of Israel in a stirring ceremony in the Knesset today. There are not too many happy days for political celebration in Israel, but today was one of them. While not everyone agrees with all of President Shimon Peres' political views, and there are certainly few politicians as optimistic as he is, there are few who believe that he does not deserve the honor. Israel seemed united for a least a few minutes today with a sense of optimism. First and foremost, the honor of the office of President was being restored after the last years tribulations of Moshe Katsav's presidency.
As the ceremonies began, Peres seemed almost frozen, not acting as someone who was finally celebrating a political victory. He did not seem to be enjoying the excellent speech being delivered by Dalia Itzhik, the Speaker of the Knesset, which outlined his many accomplishments, until the moment his great grandson, who is an infant started crying and disrupted his speech. Then Peres broke out into a warm smile as he announced that the child is his "nin" (great-grandson).
Itzhik stated in her speech that she has no doubt that Peres' Presidency will not be like any presidency before this. This is without doubt true. Not only does Peres, a young 84 year old who was born in Russia, have more experience and drive than anyone who held the job before, but he continues to have a vision for the future of the country that he believes in. He is of course the last of the generation of the founders, while not the generation of Ben-Gurion, but the last of the generation that came of age before the war of Independence and has been involved in building the state since the first days.
Peres' speech was vintage Peres. After speaking of his childhood in Europe and recognizing his mentor Ben-Gurion, he laid out a vision of what Israel could be in peace and with an environmentally friendly advanced economy. He asked that no one ask him to stop being an optimist, to stop dreaming of good things that can be.
President Peres is 84 years old; may he be blessed with health and a long life, for without optimism and vision, even if some of it is unobtainable, a better future cannot be reached.
This is a link to his speech in English:Peres Speech