Prince Charles and Boris Johnson to attend Shimon Peres’ funeral
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Prince Charles and Boris Johnson to attend Shimon Peres’ funeral

British Jews pay tribute to Israel's former president and prime minister upon his passing aged 93

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Shimon Peres meeting Her Majesty the Queen
Shimon Peres meeting Her Majesty the Queen

Prince Charles and Boris Johnson have said they will attend the funeral of Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl in Israel, as tributes poured in from across the world.

In the UK, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis led British Jewry’s reaction, saying Peres “gave hope to millions” and was “the greatest living example of an unshakable belief in the pursuit of peace against all odds,” adding: “From him we learned that we must never let go of that audacious commitment to peace, even when all around us are ready to do so.”

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said Peres was “a great visionary” and that his death marked “the end of an era,” in which “outstanding leaders showed as much courage in pursuit of peace as they did in the course of war”.

The Board of Deputies said Peres was “a towering statesman and humanitarian,” adding: “We hope that his example will inspire a new generation of peacemakers.”

Sir Mick Davis, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said he was “a great innovator and his creative efforts were a crucial factor that propelled Israel into the [rich country club] OECD”. Davis added that Peres was “a tireless campaigner for peace in the region and an inspiration to Jewish people across the world in his pursuit of that goal,” saying: “The fondness with which he is held is without peer in the Diaspora.”

Ella Rose, a former Jewish student leader and now director of the Jewish Labour Movement, said he was “a giant of a man who inspired the world to believe”.

The Zionist Federation said he “transcended mere politics, he was a symbol of the Israeli people and the Jewish state,” and recalled an elderly Peres once saying: “If you have more dreams than accomplishments, you are still young!”

Holocaust Education Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said Peres was “a huge loss” while Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “I will miss a great man. His memory will be a blessing.”

World Jewish Relief campaign manager Richard Verber said: “Few politicians can go from being fiercely partisan and divisive to loved by all.”

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