Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday at 93, was laid to rest as an Israeli prince of peace. Leaders from around the world came to Jerusalem to pay their respects to Israel’s eldest statesman, a defense minister, prime minister, president and more, who ended his long life as a symbol of his country’s quest for reconciliation with the Palestinians.
Mr. Peres certainly would have liked to enter history as a peacemaker, but that’s not how he should be remembered: Indeed, his greatest contributions were to Israel’s military might and victories. Despite his involvement in the Oslo peace process, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was never his primary work.… Seguir leyendo »
Shimon Peres never spent a day in business, yet he was one of Israel’s greatest entrepreneurs.
His “start-up” was Israel itself; he paved the way toward Israel’s transformation from a besieged, socialist backwater into a Start-Up Nation.
Most people think start-ups are about technology and ideas. Actually, on their own, ideas and technology are not worth much. Israel’s history shows that turning ideas into innovations requires a lot of drive and determination, as well as a willingness to take risks.
Shimon Peres illustrated this principle time and again. When he arrived in the Yishuv — the Jewish community of pre-state Palestine — at age 11 in 1934, Israel was just an idea, and a very improbable one at that.… Seguir leyendo »
Some 18 years ago, as part of a TV production following the stages of Shimon Peres’s life, he suggested that I join him on a trip to his home town of Vishnyeva, in Belarus. We reached a rural house, made of wood, rather small, with chickens running around the yard. Despite the warnings of the local people, who cautioned against drinking the well water – “Chernobyl contaminated the earth,” they said – Peres let the chain run through his fingers and lowered the bucket into the well, raised it, filled a tin cup, and then drank ardently from the water of his youth.… Seguir leyendo »
En 2006, un año antes de que Shimon Peres fuera elegido presidente de Israel, Michael Bar-Zohar publicó la versión en hebreo de su biografía de Peres. Su título es muy adecuado: Como un fénix. En aquel momento, Peres había estado activo en la política y la vida pública de Israel por más de sesenta años.
La carrera de Peres tuvo sus altibajos. Llegó a grandes alturas y sufrió humillantes fracasos; y pasó por varias encarnaciones. Tras ser un pilar del liderazgo de la defensa nacional israelí, se convirtió en un ardiente promotor de la paz, en una relación permanente de amor‑odio con la opinión pública israelí, que lo rechazó cada vez que se presentó a elecciones para primer ministro, pero lo admiró cuando no tenía o no buscaba el poder real.… Seguir leyendo »
Shimon Peres was an optimist. Not somebody who believed that everything would be okay at the end of the day, but someone who trusted that if you do the right things, you can change a situation for the better. Not a daydreamer, not a detached visionary, but a shrewd politician who knew what he wanted and how to achieve it. When I came to know him, it seemed to me obvious that he was a politician with an agenda, but it took me a while to understand that this was unusual. Today I can testify: Most politicians come to office simply in order to be there.… Seguir leyendo »
There are very few people in the world whose lives align so effortlessly with the birth and being of their homeland. Shimon Peres, who has died at age 93, left an indelible mark on Israel — fighting for its independence, its security, and then, for its peace. It is difficult to imagine Israel’s past without him; it will be even harder to imagine its future.
In my family home, when I was growing up, Mr. Peres represented the “other side.” A man of the left, he was my parents’ political rival, very deeply a part of the Labor Party-dominated establishment that excluded them.… Seguir leyendo »
Nosotros tenemos un modo peculiar para calificar a los criminales de guerra. Siempre está basado en un perdedor. Puede haber ganado batallas, estar considerado un héroe por una parte notable de su pueblo fanatizado, pero al final resulta que ha perdido la última pelea ante un enemigo más poderoso y todas las glorias de antaño se reducen a filfa. No es una cuestión moral ni ética, es algo que se dirime entre estar con los ganadores o con los que han perdido. Un ejemplo: ¿por qué Mussolini, de haber sobrevivido a la brutal ejecución, hubiera sido juzgado como “criminal de guerra”, y Francisco Franco Bahamonde, asesino ejemplar, murió en la cama?… Seguir leyendo »
Los periódicos y los medios de comunicación de Israel –y en parte también los de fuera de Israel– han estado ahora ocupados en presentar perfiles sobre Ariel Sharon, la mayoría con elogios a su compleja personalidad, con mención a su engañosa trayectoria política y militar y hablando de su imagen pintoresca, dotada de elementos casi míticos. Como llevaba ochos años en coma y su muerte era ya previsible, todo el mundo ha tenido tiempo suficiente para prepararse para el día de su fallecimiento y buscar en los archivos documentos y anécdotas sobre su vida privada.
Desde que Ben Gurion dejó la presidencia, no ha habido ningún otro líder israelí con una presencia tan fuerte y tan llena de contradicciones como Ariel Sharon.… Seguir leyendo »
Ever since Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who died Saturday, fell into a coma after suffering a stroke eight years ago, Israelis and Palestinians had been living in the subjunctive mood. “What if?” they asked themselves.
What if Mr. Sharon had remained at the head of his new and promising centrist party, Kadima? What if he had been able to follow through on his dramatic withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip the year before?
This “disengagement” from Gaza in 2005 was Israel’s first practical act of decolonization since Prime Minister Menachem Begin — like Mr. Sharon, from the Likud party — withdrew Israeli troops and settlers from the Sinai Peninsula following a treaty with Egypt.… Seguir leyendo »
Arik Sharon started as a warrior. He ended his career on the way to being a peacemaker. On that journey from fighting in every one of Israel’s wars to lying comatose for eight years in a Jerusalem hospital, he symbolized the anguish and dilemmas of Israel. A people who had come to their historic homeland had established themselves, surrounded by a culture that never acquiesced in ceding what it considered Islamic patrimony. Even before the proclamation of the Jewish state, Israel found itself in a state of war that has never ended. It has always lacked the essential prerequisite for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors: their recognition of its existence, which everywhere else is the precondition of diplomacy, not its outcome.… Seguir leyendo »
Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday after eight years in a coma, was one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures. His long and chequered career as a soldier and politician largely revolved around one issue: the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours. As a soldier he was involved at the sharp end of this bitter conflict. As a politician he became known as "the Bulldozer" on account of his contempt for his critics and his ruthless drive to get things done. Sharon was a deeply flawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity, and corruption. Yet despite these flaws he holds a special place in the annals of his country's history.… Seguir leyendo »
Politics, to Ariel Sharon, was like a Ferris wheel. But he didn’t make do with just staying on the wheel; he did all he could to climb to the top and stay there.
Mr. Sharon exuded strength, authority, leadership and charisma. His briefings before missions were precise, clear and unequivocal, instilling in his men a sense of trust and confidence. His orders were delivered in a lighthearted, sometimes cynical tone, with a piercing sense of humor. And he fought at the front of his forces, taking great risks.
While he was still a young, relatively junior officer, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary about Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Si Ariel Sharon no se hubiera dedicado nunca a la política, seguiría siendo mundialmente famoso como comandante y táctico militar. En los dos papeles fue extraordinario, porque sus métodos divergían de los usos militares normales incluso en el original ejército israelí.
Pensemos en la guerra de Yom Kippur. El 16 de octubre de 1973, diez días después de que el ejército de Egipto sorprendiera a los israelíes cruzando el canal de Suez, Sharon convirtió la derrota en victoria al dirigir sus tropas al otro lado del canal por un estrecho espacio abierto en el frente egipcio. Los israelíes se extendieron rápidamente por la retaguardia de los egipcios, desbarataron las baterías antiaéreas y bloquearon las rutas de abastecimiento y refuerzos.… Seguir leyendo »
Ehud Barak, who on Monday announced that he is quitting politics, has been the chief author of Israel's national security policy for a generation. He has served as military chief of staff, foreign minister, opposition leader, prime minister and currently defence minister, and his ideas underlie most war and peace decisions. Barak's failed peace proposal to Yasser Arafat is still widely considered to be the basis for any future deal, while his pullout from Lebanon in 2000 serves as the model for Israeli unilateralism. For better or worse, his conclusion of the Camp David debacle – "We have no Palestinian partner" – continues to be the mainstream political thinking in Israel – which makes him the anathema of Israel's dwindling peace camp.… Seguir leyendo »
Today marks 15 years since an assassin’s bullet killed my friend, Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister. Since his death, not a week has gone by that I have not missed him. I loved him and his wife, Leah, very much. On the occasion of the anniversary of his death, his yahrzeit, the world would do well to remember the lessons of his life: his vision for freedom, tolerance, cooperation, security and peace is as vital now as it was 15 years ago, when he happily spoke and sang for peace at a huge rally in Tel Aviv just before he was killed.… Seguir leyendo »
Mañana, 4 de noviembre, es el decimotercer aniversario del asesinato del primer ministro de Israel Yitzhak Rabin por un extremista judío. Muchos artículos e incluso libros se han escrito sobre el significado del asesinato y las implicaciones del mismo en diferentes ámbitos. Me centraré sólo en dos aspectos: las consecuencias que ha tenido para la democracia israelí y cómo ha influido en las relaciones de Israel con sus vecinos palestinos.
El asesinato fue la culminación de un proceso de polarización ideológica experimentado por la sociedad israelí con el trasfondo de los acuerdos de Oslo. Rivalidades políticas legítimas se fueron deteriorando en aquellas semanas, derivando en manifestaciones de hostilidad y odio.… Seguir leyendo »