October 6, 2016
By Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum
New York, NY – The Jewish Labor Committee joins with the people of Israel in mourning the passing of Shimon Peres. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family, and indeed to the entire country to which he devoted his life.
He was one of the last of the giants of Israel's founding generation. As a young man, he served as a key aide to David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister. He served Israel in numerous capacities, including twice as prime minister and finally as president of the State of Israel.
In the 1980s, he is credited with having ended Israel's rampant inflation and to have stabilized the economy, an achievement of special significance for Israel's working and middle classes, and the country's labor movement. He supported a vision for the future of Israeli society that helped develop that country's breakthrough hi-tech industry.
Among his many achievements while in government, he can be remembered not only for having strengthened Israel’s security in a variety of posts including as Defense Minister, but more significantly for his work in his in later years as a leading voice for peace. His efforts for peace continued as he as he presided over the withdrawal of Israeli forces from most of Lebanon in the mid-1980s, and he subsequently worked to forge a peace agreement with the Palestinians in a just way. His efforts in forging the Oslo Accords earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, but tragic and violent events undermined his efforts.
Over seven decades of public service in key positions, Shimon Peres conducted himself with dignity and civility, a shining example for the world, and, for many of us, a keeper of the dream of humanism, of discourse, and of dialogue.
He will be missed, but his vision continues.