In a eulogy for Peres in the Knesset plenum, Netanyahu praises the late president for his commitment to peace, but stresses that peace “will not come from above” or be imposed on Israel in “futile forums” but will only be achieved through direct talks with the Palestinians.
He makes the address a day after the Paris peace summit.
“Alongside our aspirations for peace, we must constantly bolster our [military] strength,” says Netanyahu, adding that he believes Peres would agree.
The prime minister hails Peres’s contribution to the State of Israel, particularly on matters of defense.
In his later years, “Shimon spoke about a new Middle East, in which peace is the solution,” says Netanyahu. “Unfortunately, this has not come to pass.”
In his address, Netanyahu does not speak about the graft allegations against him.
Opposition leader Herzog lauds Peres as “one of the greatest leaders of the Jewish people in recent generations.”
“Not necessarily because of his political leadership,” he adds, “but due to his groundbreaking activities in all areas,” including defense, welfare, the economy, and education.
“But I think that above all, Shimon Peres will be remembered in Israel’s history books as one who looked reality in the eye and instead of being deterred or trying to keep it as is — he chose to change it,” he says.
–– Marissa Newman