- Written by Office of the former President Peres
The Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Zhang Ming visited the Sheba Medical Center this morning to support President Peres and his family on behalf of the Speaker of the Chinese Parliament, the Chinese Leadership, and the Chinese People
The Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs passed on a message of hope for the speedy recovery of the Ninth President and said:
"Peres is the father of strategic relations between Israel and China"
The Chinese Deputy of Foreign Affairs arrived this morning (Thursday) at the Shiba Medical Center to support President Peres’ family on behalf of the Chinese leadership, the Chinese people, and the Speaker of the Chinese Parliament Zhang Dejiang – who is currently in Israel on an official visit.
The Chinese Deputy of Foreign Affairs met with Chemi Peres, son of the Ninth President, and Rafi Walden, son-in-law and personal doctor of Peres. During their meeting, he gave them a unique letter from the Speaker of the Chinese Parliament and the Chinese Leadership, passing with it a message of hope for the President’s speedy recovery, saying: “We came in order to support your family in this difficult time". The Chinese Leadership, and especially Speaker of the Chinese Parliament, requested to pass on their well wishes and prayers for the good health of the Ninth President Shimon Peres, who is an important figure for the entire Chinese people. "The Chinese people admire and respect Shimon Peres just like the rest of the world. He is a great and important friend to the Chinese people and we have immense respect and deep appreciation for him". I have him many times and he impressed me time and time again at every meeting with his wisdom, philosophical thought, and renewed vision for the relationship between our two countries.”
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs also referred to Peres’ role in the strong ties between Israel and China, saying: "Peres is one of Israel's founding fathers. For us he is an important and admired leader who contributed greatly to the establishment and growth of the State of Israel. He is one of the main leaders for peace, who devoted his whole life and work towards creating peace and stability in the Middle East and around the world. Peres laid the groundwork for talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and above all he is the father of strategic relations with China – opening the doors for political and economic relations between China and Israel. With his work on behalf of China, he contributed to the economic advancement and scientific development of China. In every one of his visits to China he was received by the Chinese leadership and the Chinese people as a distinguished guest. With his historic visit to China in 1993, he continued a tradition of political visits and delegations in order to strength the relations between our two countries."
Chemi replied to the Deputy Minister, saying: "I wish to thank the Speaker of the Chinese Parliament, the Chinese leadership and the Chinese people, on behalf of my entire family. My father holds a special and deep respect for the culture, the Leadership and the People of China. Strengthening relations between Israel and China has always been extremely important to him, and he put a lot of effort into broadening those relations. He appreciated and supported the visits of joint delegations and worked towards strengthening our economic and scientific collaborations. My father has spoken a lot about the common values and traditions that are shared between China, the Jewish people and the State of Israel. On the same day that he was hospitalized, he even met an economic/scientific delegation comprised of Chairmen of Chinese companies, and enjoyed telling them all about the unbelievable story of the State of Israel as the Start-up Nation.
Chemi went on to tell the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs that in the past year, many governors and the Chairmen of of various companies have asked Peres to assist them in establishing innovation centers in order to contribute to the strengthening of China's position in the economic and technological fields. Chemi said: "this vision of collaboration with the help of the innovation centers made him really enthusiastic and he has worked eagerly to promote it.”
My father has always been a fighter as he is doing right at this moment– he is fighting to leave the hospital, and I know his greatest desire is to return to work in full force. He always talks about being optimistic and now we are clinging to his optimism. It takes a lot of patience, and we are thankful for the prayers and the waves of love and well wishes that we are receiving from all across the world.
Rafi Walden, Peres' son-in-law and personal doctor, briefed the Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on the medical status of the Ninth President. As someone who had accompanied Peres on his last visit to China in December in order to attend groundbreaking of the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology, he was able to recount Peres' excitement over the new frontier of the relations between Israel and China.
Photo Credit GPO provided by the Office of the former President Peres
- Written by President’s Spokesperson
Marking two years since Operation Protective Edge, President Rivlin tours region bordering Gaza Strip, speaks with soldiers serving in the area, and meets local authority and regional heads
Marking two years since Operation Protective Edge, President Reuven Rivlin today (), toured the region bordering the Gaza Strip. He was accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, and Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Yehuda Fox.
The President received a situation update and heard about the IDF operations in the area on a day-to-day basis, and in particular following the recent terrorist rocket attack on Sderot. During his visit, President Rivlin was shown a terror tunnel discovered by the IDF, and discussed the initiatives the IDF was taking to tackle the problem of the tunnels.
The President then went on to the ‘Black Arrow (Chetz HaShachor)’ viewpoint where he met with dozens of soldiers of the Bedouin Tracker Unit, combat engineers, and members of the Givati Brigade who were serving in the region. He told them, “Two years after Operation Protective Edge, the south has returned to its daily routine. The IDF guards the front in the very best way, and the front in return shows its appreciation. Just as we saw yesterday, we will not tolerate any disturbance of the quiet, and in the face of any such disturbance we will respond swiftly and firmly. On both sides of the border there are civilians who want to live in quiet and we will be sure that the citizens of Israel will continue to live in harmony. We do not seek war. Yet, after having sat with our wonderful commanders I know that if war is forced upon us, we have an army as ready and professional as could be asked. The plan that was presented to me reflects operational strength.”
The President reiterated that, “Two of our sons remained behind after the war which took place two years ago. The State of Israel has a moral responsibility to return Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.”
The President thanked the soldiers and said, “On my own behalf, and on behalf of all the Israeli people I want to say thank you to the commanders, to the servicemen and women. The calm here is not taken for granted; the children and the families who are now enjoying the summer holiday do so thanks to you.”
The President then spoke with the media covering his visit. He said, “We are not interested in an escalation. Just as the other side want to live in peace and live comfortable lives so do we. At the same time, we are ready to face any hostility toward us. I am impressed by the readiness of the IDF to face any challenge in order to safeguard Israel’s security. I can say to the citizens of Israel, the IDFis prepared and ready to face any threat above or below the ground in order to prevent any trouble not just around Gaza, but across the country.”
Later, the President met with the local authority and regional heads from the Negev and the southern region.
Photo President Rivlin with the heads of regional councils in the Negev.
Photo by Mark Neumann / GPO
- Written by Israel Defense Forces
Gaza Rocket Strikes Israel, Drawing IDF Response
Yesterday, July 1st, 2016, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel. The rocket hit in the city of Sderot, causing damage to a building.
In response to the attack IAF aircraft targeted four locations that were components of Hamas' operational infrastructure in the northern and central Gaza Strip.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: “Over the past two days Israeli civilians have witnessed and experienced the devastating effects of incitement fueled terrorism based on hatred and radical beliefs. The rocket attack today in Sderot is a horrific reminder of the intentions of terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip to target communities, people, men women and children. In our efforts to ensure stability, we continue to defend against those who put innocent lives in harm’s way”
- Written by Former President Shimon Peres Spokesperson
NInth President of Israel Shimon Peres mourns the lost of Elie Wiesel:
"Today, the Jewish people and the world lost a larger than life individual - Holocaust Survivor, Author and Noble Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Wiesel, left his mark on humanity through preserving and upholding the legacy of the Holocaust and delivering a message of peace and respect between people worldwide.
He endured the most serious atrocities of mankind - survived them and dedicated his life to conveying the message of - "Never Again”.
I had the honor and privilege to personally thank him for his numerous years of work and for saving the world from apathy when I gave him the Presidential Medal on behalf of the State of Israel. May his memory be a blessing to us all. "
Photo Credit GPO (Presidential medal ceremony 2013)
- Written by Former President Shimon Peres Spokesperson
40 years ago today, June 27th 1976, an airplane was hijacked leading to Operation Entebbe
40 years later - this morning, for the first time, the Defense Minister during the operation Shimon Peres got together with the Children of Entebbe, who were rescued during this bold military operation
During this meeting the children shared their memories of the seven days that they spent in Uganda: Shay, who remembers the shouts of the German terrorists, Tzipi, who lost her father in the operation, Anat, whose mother threw a mattress over her during the rescue to protect her life, and Ada, who to this day still gets scared when she hears her children playing with guns
Peres said to the Children of Entebbe: "Everyone speaks about the operation– today we honor you - when we made the difficult decision to move forward with this operation it was you, the children, who were foremost in my mind"
"When I heard that the terrorists separated out the Jewish hostages I was furious, and I knew that we would not surrender! Operation Entebbe was the most important military operation in the history of the Israeli army and it raised our prestige around the world."
Anat Brodesky Charniak, who was 6: "I remember running and fleeing for our lives – thank you for saving our lives"
Tzipi Cohen, who was 8.5 and lost her father during the rescue: "From the moment we landed in Israel I felt a heavy weight, everyone was celebrating the success of the operation and I was left without my father"
By request of the children, Sorin Hershko was granted a certificate of honor at the event, as he was paralyzed for life during the rescue operation
The Ninth President Shimon Peres, who served as Defense Minister during Operation Entebbe and headed the military operation, this morning participated in an emotional event that gathered together, for the first time, the Children of Entebbe, who were flying with their families on vacation and were kidnapped on Air France flight 139 to Paris, exactly 40 years ago today (27 June 1976). Peres asked to mark 40 years by giving the spotlight to the children, as many of them have never shared their story of captivity, and to mark their bravery during the abduction and weeklong captivity with their families in Entebbe.
During the event, Peres shared with the children the difficult political decisions he had to make as Defense Minister during Operation Entebbe and said: "From the moment I heard about the hijacking I knew that we must do everything possible to free you and bring you back home. We had very little information to go on. My blood boiled when I heard that the terrorists separated out the Jewish and German captives – at that moment I decided no more! They called the military branch that I oversaw the "fantasy branch", many doubted the ability of the IDF to carry out this mission, fearing that there was no precedent for such an operation, but I knew all along that it was possible. Operation Entebbe is one of the most calculated and important in Israeli history, and raised the prestige of the IDF throughout the world."
Tzipi, who lost her father in the operation, said that: "When you are a child your memories of the operation are memories of a child. I will never forget Jean-Jacques Maimon, who was 19, playing with us like a teacher, and distracting us with five stones made from Coca-Cola caps. I remember my mother yelling "run" during the rescue, and the soldiers giving us candy. When we arrived in Israel everyone was so happy about the rescue, and I was alone, a child without a father."
Ella Reizenkovitz, who was 5.5 and was excited to share her homecoming experiences: "I remember the moment we returned home, and how the entire staircase leading up to my room was decorated by our neighbors."
Shay Gross, who was 6 years old, said: "I remember the screams of the terrorists in German. My mother hid me under her skirt. I asked her, "Mom, does it hurt to die?"
Ada Atzmon, who was 16, shared the moments of the rescue: "Once we heard the explosions and shots, as a child you feel that everything is lost. I will never forget what the soldiers were saying: 'We are the IDF, we have come to bring you home. Listen to the soldiers' instructions.'
Benny Davidson, who was 13 years old, shared how he was flying to go celebrate his bar mitzvah with his family, and his grandmother gave him a notebook that became a calendar and journal during his mother's captivity. "My father did not want the terrorists to know that he was a navigator in the Air Force, so we ate his air force ID, which was made of paper."
Peres, who was Defense Minister at the time, was joined by Ms. Dalia Rabin, daughter of Yitzhak Rabin, who was then Prime Minister, and together they listened to the emotional stories and testimonies and viewed an exhibition of personal items that the Children of Entebbe brought with them. The children's families and friends were invited to the event, some of whom also heard the full story from their loved ones for the first time.
Ms. Rabin said at the event: "This is a very moving moment for me. The operation felt like science fiction, I know there were doubts, that the decision was difficult. I am sure that you knew in your hearts, along with all of the hostages, that Israel would not abandon you."
The children who attended the event were all between the ages of 5.5 – 13 during the hijacking and Operation Entebbe: Shay celebrated his sixth birthday during his captivity and named his son Yoni in honor of Yoni Netanyahu, Benny was on his way to celebrate his bar mitzvah with family, Tzipi returned after the operation without a father as he was killed during the rescue, Dana and Anat, two sisters who were ages six and ten and spent their week in captivity following a normal routine playing games with other children, Ada, who was 16, and Ella, who was only five and a half when she was abducted just four days after returning to Israel and leaving again on a planned family trip to Paris.
Photos by Silvia Golan