Memorial to Shimon Peres unveiled in Albanian capital

Late president was the first Israeli official to visit Tirana after establishment of diplomatic relations

Memorial to late president Shimon Peres unveiled in Tirana, Albania on June 26, 2018 (GENTI)
Memorial to late president Shimon Peres unveiled in Tirana, Albania on June 26, 2018 (GENTI)

A memorial to late president Shimon Peres was unveiled in the Albanian capital, Tirana, on Thursday, a sign of Israel friendship with the majority-Muslim country.

The rough-hewn Star of David engraved with the likeness of the Israeli leader was dedicated nearly two years after Peres’ death, and was the initiative of Deputy Israeli Ambassador Yuval Fischer.

Fischer called the monument “a tribute to the great friendship between these two countries.”

The ceremony was attended by Yoni Peres, the former president’s son.

“Tirana is a wonderful city, and the people are warm and loving,” he said. “It was a moving experience.”

Diplomatic relations were formally established between Albania and Israel in 1991, and in 1994 Peres became the first Israeli leader to make a state visit to Tirana.

Peres, the last of Israel’s founding fathers, died in September 2016 at the age of 93.

Over a seven-decade career, the elder statesman of Israeli politics and one of the country’s most admired symbols held virtually every senior political office, including two stints as prime minister and extended terms as foreign, defense and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Long a divisive personality in politics, Peres finally became one of Israel’s most popular public figures in his later years.

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