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Statement by the Vice President on the Death of Former Israeli President Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016

Shimon Peres was one of the few men in the world whose experience was surpassed only by his genuine wisdom and his eloquence.

When he talked, everyone listened. And later, long after he'd left the room, you remembered what he said. It crept into your soul and stayed with you.

Shimon Peres was truly a force of nature.

Today, we have lost an amazing leader, and a powerful voice for peace and progress in our world. His loss will be felt not only in Israel but all over the world—in every heart he touched, including mine.

It was my great privilege over the past 40 years to benefit from his friendship and his counsel. And each time I met with him, I was struck anew by his incredible compassion, his boundless energy, and his ceaseless curiosity. Even at 93, Shimon was still looking for the next big idea—the next dream to bring to life.

He was part of that exceptional generation of founders—the men and women who recognized the necessity for a Jewish State of Israel and then willed it into existence, despite overwhelming odds.

There was never any inevitability to the success of Israel. Only the iron-clad determination of those who made it so. Ben-Gurion. Meir. Begin. Rabin. And the youngest among them, a kid still in his early 20s named Shimon Peres, who would go on to dedicate his life and his service to Israel for 70 more years.

He was a treasure. He held every office. Earned every award and recognition—including America's highest civilian honors.

And he never stopped serving. He didn't know the meaning of the word quit.

He made sure Israel was strong and secure—so that Israel could always defend herself. And then he worked tirelessly to make Israel stronger through his unwavering commitment to peace. The last time I sat with Shimon back in March, at his Center for Peace in Tel Aviv, he said "we gave up war, because war led nowhere."

Every nation has a soul—someone who embodies the spirit of a people.

And for so many years, Shimon Peres was the soul of Israel. The world is a little darker without him in it.

Jill and I send our deepest condolences to all the people of Israel. And our prayers go out to his children, Zvia, Yoni, and Chemi, and their families. May his memory continue to be a blessing to us all.

Joseph R. Biden, Statement by the Vice President on the Death of Former Israeli President Shimon Peres Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320806

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