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Amos Oz: ‘Where are the brave leaders, Shimon Peres’s successors?’

Key quotes from Obama, Clinton, Netanyahu, Rivlin and Peres’s children at his funeral

Israeli author Amos Oz spoke during the State funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016 (Photo by Emil Salman/POOL)
Israeli author Amos Oz spoke during the State funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016 (Photo by Emil Salman/POOL)

US presidents present and past joined Israeli leaders and Shimon Peres’s children in delivering the eulogies at the Nobel Peace laureate’s funeral in Jerusalem on Friday.

Here are some of the key quotes:

US President Barack Obama

“He reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I had the honor to meet: Men like Nelson Mandela, women like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, leaders who have seen so much, whose lives span such momentous epics, that they find no need to posture for traffic in what is popular in the moment.”

“It is that faith, that optimism, that belief even when all the evidence was to the contrary, that tomorrow can be better, that makes us not just honor Shimon Peres but love him.”

US President Barack Obama seen at the state funeral ceremony for former Israeli President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)
US President Barack Obama seen at the state funeral ceremony for former Israeli President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)

“Shimon accomplished enough things in his life for 1,000 men but he understood that it is better to live until the very end of his time on earth with a longing not for the past, but for the dreams that have not yet come true — an Israel, secure in a just and lasting peace with its neighbors.”

On Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who was seated in front row at the funeral, the US president said his “presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.”

Former US President Bill Clinton

“He started off life as Israel’s brightest student, became its best teacher, and ended up its biggest dreamer”

Former US president Bill Clinton delivers a eulogy at Shimon Peres’s funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)
Former US president Bill Clinton delivers a eulogy at Shimon Peres’s funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)

“His critics often claimed he was a naive, overly optimistic dreamer. They were only wrong about the naive part. He knew exactly what he was doing by being overly optimistic.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Shimon lived a life of purpose.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the state funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the state funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)

“He soared to incredible heights. He was a great man of Israel; he was a great man of the world. Israel grieves for him, the world grieves for him, but we find hope in his legacy, as does the world.”

President Reuven Rivlin

“Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end of an era, the end of the era of giants whose life stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel.”

President Reuven Rivlin delivers a eulogy at Shimon Peres’s funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 2)
President Reuven Rivlin delivers a eulogy at Shimon Peres’s funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: Channel 2)

“This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives.”

Tzviya Walden, daughter

“My father, you were a lover of life, who sprung like a lion at daybreak to fulfill his mission. For so long, I tried to catch up with you. But now, heed my loving words, you have earned a well-deserved rest.”

Tzivya Walden, Shimon Peres's daughter, eulogizes the former president and Nobel Prize winner at his funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)
Tzivya Walden, Shimon Peres’s daughter, eulogizes the former president and Nobel Prize winner at his funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)

Chemi Peres, son

“You always preferred the possibilities offered by the imagination to clinging to memories of the past. The legacy you leave to us is the world of tomorrow.”

Chemi Peres, son of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, pauses in front of his father's coffin after speaking during his funeral on September 30, 2016, at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl national cemetery.(AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)
Chemi Peres, son of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, pauses in front of his father’s coffin after speaking during his funeral on September 30, 2016, at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery.(AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

“Farewell my teacher and mentor. Farewell beloved father and grandfather. We will travel the path of light you left us.”

Yoni Peres, son

“When asked what he would like to have inscribed on his tombstone after death, he said, without hesitation, ‘He was too young to die’.”

Yoni Peres, Shimon Peres’s son, eulogizes the former president and Nobel Prize winner at his funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)
Yoni Peres, Shimon Peres’s son, eulogizes the former president and Nobel Prize winner at his funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (screen capture: GPO livestream)

Amoz Oz, author and friend

“Peace is not only possible, it is inevitable, because we have no other place to go, nor do the Palestinians”

Israeli author Amos Oz spoke during the State funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016 (Photo by Emil Salman/POOL)
Israeli author Amos Oz spoke during the State funeral ceremony for late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016 (Emil Salman/Pool)

“There were two tendencies in him — on the one hand a deep respect for reality and its constraints, and the other an impulse to change that reality, and even further, the capacity to change himself.”

“Peace is not only possible, it is necessary, because we are not going anywhere. We have nowhere to go. The Palestinians also are not going anywhere. They have nowhere to go… Where are the brave leaders who will stand up and realize this? … Where are Shimon Peres’s successors?”

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