2016-09-28 / Home

Shimon Peres, last of Israel’s founders, dies

TEL AVIV (JTA)--Shimon Peres, the former defense hawk turned Nobel Peace Prize winner and the last of Israel’s founders, has died.

Peres died before dawn Wednesday at 93, Israel Radio reported. The former president suffered a massive stroke earlier this month and was reported initially to be in stable but critical condition. His condition was reported to have deteriorated dramatically on Tuesday afternoon. Israel Radio quoted his family, who were at his side, as saying he was “fighting until the end.”

The phoenix of Israeli politics, Peres continually reinvented himself as the country changed. He began his career in the Defense Ministry and was the architect of Israel’s nuclear program, but in his later years Peres was more closely identified with the quest for peace with the Palestinians. He was instrumental in negotiating the Oslo Accords, the landmark Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and was present on the White House lawn for its signing in 1993.

Though he served as prime minister three times without ever winning an election outright, and shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for a peace that has yet to materialize, Peres emerged late in life as Israel’s beloved elder statesmen and a rare figure capable of uniting a fractious society.

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