Former Israeli President,ShimonPeres
Shimon Peres, who served twice as Israel’s prime minister and once as president, has died at the age of 93.
Mr Peres suffered a stroke two weeks ago. His condition had improved before a sudden deterioration on Tuesday.
His son Chemi led tributes to “one of the founding fathers of the state of Israel” who “worked tirelessly” for it.
Mr Peres was one of the last of a generation of Israeli politicians present at the new nation’s birth in 1948.
He won the Nobel Peace prize in 1994 for his role negotiating peace accords with the Palestinians a year earlier.
He once said the Palestinians were Israel’s “closest neighbours” and might become its “closest friends”.
Mr Peres died in a hospital near Tel Aviv early on Wednesday, with his family at his bedside.
He had been in the intensive care unit of the Sheba Medical Centre after suffering a major stroke on 13 September.
‘Giant among men’
He “left us without suffering”, said Rafi Walden, his son-in-law.
Mr Peres’s son, Chemi, said of his father: “He served our people before we even had a country of our own.
“He worked tirelessly for Israel from the very first day of the state to the last day of his life.
“My father used to say – and I’m quoting – you are only as great as the cause you serve.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “deep personal grief on the passing of the beloved of the nation”.
Meanwhile US President Barack Obama called Mr Peres his “dear friend” in a statement, and said: “He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called Mr Peres “a true giant among men” and “the greatest living example of an unshakable belief in the pursuit of peace against all odds”.
He added: “Tragically, thus far, we have not succeeded. But from Shimon Peres we learned that we must never let go of that audacious commitment to peace, even when all around us are ready to do so.”
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