CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS MOURNS THE PASSING OF SHIMON PERES

New York, NY September 28, 2016 - - The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is deeply saddened by the passing of Shimon Peres, Israel’s 9th President, who also served twice as Prime Minister during his distinguished lifelong career of public service to Israel and the Jewish people.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of the Conference of Presidents said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Shimon Peres, the last of the generation of founding leaders of Israel, a great friend, staunch supporter and partner in the work of the Conference.  His distinguished lifelong career devoted to public service was guided by an unwavering commitment to the ideals of Zionism and an abiding love for the State of Israel and all its people, and for Jews throughout the world. 

President Peres was a man of great vision, a pragmatic politician and a skilled statesman, who worked tirelessly to enhance Israel’s security, strengthen its democratic society and promote its standing in the world.  He sought peace within and without Israel.  His intellect, personality and unswerving pursuit of a better future for Israel and the world, inspired generations of Israelis and many others around the globe, garnering the respect of world leaders until the very end of his life.”

On a short trip to Israel last week, Mr. Hoenlein visited with President Peres in the hospital to bring the prayers and well wishes of the American Jewish Community and met with his son Chemi and son-in-law Dr. Rafi Valdan. 

Commenting on the encounter at the hospital, Mr. Hoenlein said, “I am grateful I had the opportunity to be at the hospital and to share memories with Chemi and Rafi. I know so many who wanted to do the same.  My relationship with President Peres spanned almost four decades.  I cherished his friendship, advice and wisdom. He made certain to brief us on major developments like the London Agreement and Oslo Accords, sometimes even before Israeli officials.  President Peres’ many contributions will be a lasting memorial this great leader.”

Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Hoenlein also noted that “President Peres was always available to meet with us and with Conference of Presidents delegations on our many visits to Israel and when he was in the United States.  Those countless encounters were lively, illuminating, sometimes provocative and always deepened our connection to Israel and his connection to the American Jewish community.

Today, we join with the family of Shimon Peres, the people of Israel and the international community in mourning his loss.  We pray that his memory will be a blessing and will continue to inspire this and future generations.”  

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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