Israel Founding Father Shimon Peres Dies at 93

Israel Founding Father Shimon Peres Dies at 93
President of Israel Shimon Peres acknowledges his being named to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Obama's remarks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on March 4, 2012. (Ron Sachs / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX)

Former Israeli president and two-time prime minister Shimon Peres died Tuesday near Tel Aviv after suffering a stroke on Sept. 13. He was 93 years old.

The Nobel Peace Prize recipient served as minister of 10 ministries, including foreign and defense, since the founding of Israel. His career included 48 years serving in the Knesset.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara express deep personal sorrow over the passing of former President of Israel Shimon Peres,” Netanyahu’s office said.

The prime minister planned on convening a special cabinet session Wednesday and issuing a special statement, his office added.

President George H.W. Bush, 92, released a statement saluting Peres for “his singular life of service — to the universal cause of freedom, to the timeless cause of Israel, to the noblest cause of peace.”

“By his unyielding determination and principle, Shimon Peres time and again helped guide his beloved country through the crucible of moral challenge,” Bush said. “But it was by his innate humanity, his decency, that Shimon inspired the world over and helped pave a path to peace broad enough that future generations will walk it one day, side by side.”

President Obama called his “friend Shimon” one of few people who expanded “our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves.”

“He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together.  He brought young people from around the world together because he knew they could carry us closer to our ideals of justice and equality,” Obama said.

“…Perhaps because he had seen Israel surmount overwhelming odds, Shimon never gave up on the possibility of peace between Israelis, Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors — not even after the heartbreak of the night in Tel Aviv that took Yitzhak Rabin. ‘Dear friends,’ he told us during my visit to Israel three years ago, ‘after everything I have seen in my life, I earned the right to believe that peace is attainable.’ Tonight, I can think of no greater tribute to his life than to renew our commitment to the peace that we know is possible. ”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said “the world has lost a true legend and statesman” and “a persistent voice for the cause of peace,” while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Peres “an intellectual resource who personified the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.”

“Shimon Peres’ story was the story of modern Israel – a saga of daring, dynamism and wisdom. With all of his heart, this farmer, fighter, author, Nobel peace prize winner, prime minister and president worked to guide his nation into a secure and confident future,” Pelosi said. “I valued his friendship.”