NEW YORK — A giant in Israeli politics has died. Shimon Peres served in Israel's government for decades and believed in peace between Israelis and Palestinians until his death.
Peres committed his life to Israel. He held almost every cabinet position and served as prime minister and president.
"He was one of the founding fathers of the State of Israel and served our people before we even had a country of our own," his son Nehemiah Chemi Peres said.
The 1993 Oslo Peace Accord would earn Peres a Nobel Peace Prize. But due to suicide bombings and other attacks, a two state solution between Israel and Palestine did not materialize.
Shimon Peres was both loved and hated within Israel. But his popularity soared during his years as president. Until his death, Peres believed there could be peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
"He worked till his last days for peace and a better future for all," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
A director at The Israel Project, Ben Cohen said Peres' work was global and especially important to New Yorkers.
"Many Jews in New York, particularly older Jews, will remember the very import role that Peres played in shaping the modern State of Israel," Cohen said.
Shimon Mercer-Wood, a spokesperson for the Israeli Consulate, once wrote a speech for Peres. He described Peres as an incurable optimist.
"He sent it back all scribbled it out. He said I don't want to talk one word about the past. I want to talk only about the future," Mercer-Wood said.
President Obama and former President Clinton are expected to travel to Israel for the funeral on Friday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would also go and represent New York.
Shimon Peres suffered a stroke about two weeks ago. He died in a Tel Aviv area hospital Wednesday. He was 93 years old.