EDITOR’S OPINION: Thank you, President Peres

EDITOR’S OPINION: Thank you, President Peres

Richard Ferrer has become a leading voice on Jewish communal issues since becoming editor of the Jewish News in 2009, writing about contemporary Jewish life for a national audience. He edited the Boston Jewish Advocate, America's oldest Jewish newspaper and created the Channel 4 series Jewish Mum of the Year.

  • Thank you, Mr President
Richard Ferrer
Richard Ferrer

What were you doing when you were 21? Something we couldn’t/shouldn’t print, probably. Your mother may be reading. Whatever it was, it likely wasn’t working as a shepherd on a kibbutz, like Shimon Peres.

And as Israel’s president bowed out of public office last week, we looked back on his career and realised that he never really stopped.

In the early days, he shepherded Israel towards security (he set up its nuclear programme), towards international alliances (with the US, the UK and France) and towards peace, in the last few years often appearing to do so on his own.

Similarly, we saw him round up the international community on Iran, and usher the kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers of this world towards the Israel pen. Not everyone agreed with him.

Many doubt, for example, that Mahmoud Abbas is the “partner for peace” Peres says he is, and others reject outright the idea of a Palestinian state, especially in light of the current tragic situation in Gaza, long championed by the outgoing president.

But like Ariel Sharon, Shimon always argued for what he thought was right for Israel, regardless of whether it was a popular idea. And he always had a vision of peace, and of what it meant to achieve it. This, he communicated far and wide, often when he wasn’t supposed to.

That, according to many Israel observers, is what people will be most missed, and for that, Mr President, we salute you, and thank you, for always shepherding us in what you thought was the right direction.

  • Hamas’ blood-soaked PR

As the Gaza conflict continues, the bloodshed and misery – particularly on the Palestinian side – has become so pitiful, so heartbreaking, so gut-wrenching that for many it no longer seems to matter that Israel is desperately trying to fight clean in Hamas’ dirty, depraved war. In the court of public opinion, Israel has been found guilty.

It no longer has the right to self-defence because Hamas has played a blinder with the blood of its people. The terrorists are winning the hearts of even the fair-minded.

If Hamas was as good at firing rockets as it is at blood-soaked PR, Israel would really be in trouble. What desperately difficult days these are for Israel and her friends.

 By Richard Ferrer, Editor Jewish News

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