There have been several notable Shimons in
Jewish History. The famous Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, student
of Rabbi Akiva, and a great Kabbalist who fought against the
Romans, come to mind as well as Shimon Hatzadik, who ,
dressed in his priestly robes went out to meet Alexander the
Great and save the Jewish people.
Shimon Peres is currently with us, 90, the
President of Israel, a voice of peace and statesmanship and
who is making his rounds saying goodbyes to America. Or
should I say L’Hitraut, See you soon, because we know Shimon
Peres, who has served in the Knesset since 1959, and as
Minister of Defense and State and twice as Prime Minister
can never really say goodbye.
Rabbi Cosgrove of the Park Avenue Synagogue
on East 87th Street hosted the
President as he was interviewed by none other than Charlie
Rose of CBS and his own show on PBS. Rabbi Cosgrove
introduced the Chairman of the Conference of Major American
Jewish Organizations, Robert Sugarman, who welcomed the
President to the overflowing crowd.
Mr. Sugarman pointed out that the Pope
invited him and President Abbas to pray for peace at the
Vatican. That was a first. Shimon Peres was a champion of
the nanotechnology industry that is burgeoning in Israel and
making Israel the technology powerhouse it is today. He
stated that Mr. Peres is the most popular Israeli statesman
in the world today.
In questioning Mr. Peres , Charlie Rose
secured the following responses:
The biggest obstacle to peace is – Skepticism
Each person has a greater potential than he
For the first time since the Oslo Accords the
Arab nations realize that terror is more dangerous to them
The 3 missing teenagers have united Jews the
world over, whether they be religious, secular, Zionistic or
neutral. All Jews feel as if they are our own children.
Why does Hamas continue on a path of self
destruction? – The only losers are their
own brothers and sisters.
On Technology – Jewish DNA never allows a Jew
to feel satisfied – he must create – improve things – never
give in to the status quo.
Moses chose to come to Israel because we are
holy and seek holiness. If we wanted the oil, we would have
continued on to Saudi Arabia.
Shimon Peres told the audience the THREE
basic principles of being a Jew today:
1. Respect the 10 Commandments. 2. Learn and
learn more & more, like the wise men of Yavne. 3. Seek
On the Two State Solution: Neither the Arabs
or the Jews should condemn their children to keep the war
going. Both realities can co-exist.
Itshak Rabin was the closest prime Minister
to Shimon Peres and even though they differed on many
occasions, and they came from two different divisions of the
Labor Party, they put aside their differences for the sake
of Israel and its future.
He met 10 US Presidents starting with
President John F. Kennedy. He said every single President
was friendly to Israel no matter what the issue was at hand.
Even Kennedy, who at first did not want to arm Israel
against its neighbors, came around and would not let the
young country fail.
America became great by HELPING OTHERS , NOT
BY USING OTHERS. More than any other country the world over,
America has stood by us. We share the same principles of
freedom and democracy. “It’s too true to be good”.
Biggest Regret? - You
can’t change the past so why waste time.
Proudest Moment? – The one that will happen
Iran? – A danger to the whole world. Nobody
wants another Hiroshima. Nobody is threatening them, so why
the threats? President Obama has assured us that Iran will
not become nuclear and that the US will consult us on every
A bad agreement is better than no agreement.
The President of Israel represents the people
of Israel, not the government. If I see a fire, I will not
remain silent because of politics. My first obligation is to
tell the truth. To be a public servant, you have to SERVE
the people, not use them for personal ambition.
Rabbi Cosgrove said that Mr. Peres’s life
work will continue beyond his presidency. Whether you agree
with his politics or not, Shimon Peres has been a true
leader of Israel, a pioneer, a fighter, a peace seeker and a
great statesman. Today - the
oldest living head of state in the world. We wish him well
and know that he will always have the people of Israel first
and foremost in his mind as well as the safety and welfare
the world over.