Peres, Shimon

(formerly Persky)
(1923- )
   He was born on 16 August 1923 in the town of Vishneva, Poland, to Isaac and Sarah Persky. Because of British restrictions and the financial burdens associated with immigration (see ALIYA), Isaac Persky immigrated to Palestine in 1931, leaving his wife and two sons behind. The family was reunited in Palestine in 1934. Peres became involved in the largest of the Zionist movements, Hashomer Hatzair (Young Guard), and later joined Hanoar Haoved (Working Youth). By 1941, Peres was a leader in the Kibbutz Movement in Palestine, and he continued his efforts within Hanoar Haoved. In 1942, he joined Kibbutz Alumot, and he remained a member until 1957. Peres's military career began in the Hagana. He rose to the rank of position commander by his late teens, and in 1947, he accepted Levi Eshkol's offer to serve as director of manpower and in that capacity was active in the procurement and manufacture of arms for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). His successful efforts to develop and acquire arms both at home and abroad gained him recognition as one of the pioneers of Israel's defense industry.
   After Israel's War of Independence (1948—49), Peres asked Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for a leave of absence to study abroad. Ben-Gurion granted the leave provided Peres continue his arms acquisition efforts in the United States, where he chose to study at Harvard University and New York University. He returned to Israel and in February 1952 was appointed to serve as deputy director general of the Defense Ministry. In October 1952, he became acting director general of the Defense Ministry. As director general, Peres continued his efforts to acquire high-quality weapons for the IDF. He spent much of his time fostering Franco-Israeli relations, and France remained Israel's primary supplier of major weapons systems until after the Six-Day War (1967). Peres's efforts included gaining French consent to provide Israel with an atomic reactor located at Di-mona, and he was instrumental in the creation of Bedek, which later came to be known as Israel Aircraft Industries.
   Peres's Knesset career began in 1959, when he was elected as a member of the Mapai Party, although he continued to serve as deputy minister of defense. Peres was included in Ben-Gurion's cabinet, which gave him a larger role in policy debates. In 1963, Ben-Gurion resigned and was replaced by Eshkol as prime minister and minister of defense. Ben-Gurion's retirement from politics lasted only two years before he returned to the political arena in June 1965 as the leader of a new political party called Rafi. Peres resigned his position in the government to join Ben-Gurion and become secretary general of the new party. He managed the party's campaign efforts in the 1965 election, in which it won 10 seats, but the new government did not include Rafi or any of its members. In 1968, Rafi joined with Mapai and Ahdut Haavoda to form the Israel Labor Party. Between 1969 and 1973, Peres held a variety of cabinet posts, including minister of absorption, minister of transport, minister of information, minister of communications, and minister without portfolio with responsibility for economic development in the Occupied Territories.
   In April 1974, when Golda Meir resigned as prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, minister of labor and the preferred choice of the party establishment, won a close leadership vote over Peres, then minister of information in the Labor Party's central committee. Peres became the number-2 man in the party. The new government was established in June 1974, with Rabin as prime minister and Peres as minister of defense. Relations between Peres and Rabin were strained during the term of the government, however, as disputes arose over domestic and foreign policy, the selection of personnel, and the scope of their authority.
   Peres formally announced his intention to challenge Rabin for the party leadership in January 1977. The showdown took place at the Labor Party convention the following month, where Rabin prevailed by a slim majority. However, a series of scandals, including the disclosure that Rabin's wife maintained bank accounts in the United States in violation of Israeli currency laws, led Rabin to resign from the chairmanship of the Labor Party in April 1977, just one month prior to the Knesset election. Peres became the party's new leader and candidate for the premiership. Despite his efforts, Likud won the most Knesset seats and succeeded in forming the government headed by Menachem Begin. In June 1977, Peres was elected Labor Party chairman. The 1981 election was Peres's second loss to Begin. In the 1984 election, Labor secured 44 seats to Likud's 41, and although he received the mandate to form the government, Peres was unable to form a majority coalition.
   This led to the formation of a Government of National Unity, which was a new experiment in Israeli politics. A rotation agreement was adopted that called for Peres to serve as prime minister for the first half of the 50-month term, while Likud's Yitzhak Shamir served as foreign minister. After 25 months, the two rotated positions for the balance of the term. During his tenure as prime minister, Peres presided over the IDF's withdrawal from much of southern Lebanon and confronted Israel's severe economic problems with austerity measures. Peres also actively sought to establish diplomatic contacts with such Arab leaders as King Hassan II of Morocco and King Hussein of Jordan and tried to improve relations with the United States that had been strained under Begin and Shamir.
   The 1988 Knesset election, as in 1984, did not produce a clear victory for either Labor or Likud. Shamir was given the mandate to form a coalition by President Chaim Herzog. Shamir chose to form a second national unity coalition with Labor, but the central difference between the 1988 coalition agreement and the 1984 agreement was that Shamir would serve as prime minister for the duration of the government. Peres accepted the position of finance minister, but he and the other Labor Party ministers left the government in the spring of 1990 and forced a vote of confidence in the Knesset, which the Shamir-led government lost. Peres subsequently sought to form a narrow coalition during the spring of 1990 but was unsuccessful. In June 1990, Shamir was able to form a narrow coalition that gained the confidence of the Knesset. Peres reverted to the role of leader of the opposition in the Knesset.
   After several tries, Rabin finally succeeded in ousting Peres as Labor Party chairman in early 1992, and he led his party to victory in the election to the 13th Knesset. Peres served as foreign minister in the new governing coalition. To the surprise of many, Peres and Rabin achieved a modus vivendi, and together they set Israel on a new course that resulted in a series of interim agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, and the opening of commercial relations and substantive diplomatic discussions with a number of other Arab countries, including Syria. For his efforts, Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and the PLO's Yasser Arafat. Peres actively promoted the vision of a "new Middle East," one premised on the completion of formal peace agreements and the full political, social, and economic integration of Israel into the Middle East. He became interim prime minister and defense minister following the November 1995 assassination of Rabin.
   Seeking a mandate of his own, Peres opted for early elections in the spring of 1996. However, by less than 1 percent of the popular vote, he lost the direct election of the prime minister to Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres subsequently relinquished the chairmanship of the Labor Party, and he was succeeded by Ehud Barak. He remained active both in Labor Party politics and in advocating for peace. He established an institute bearing his name that was dedicated to promoting economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. Peres was accorded the second slot on the One Israel electoral slate for the 17 May 1999 election to the 15th Knesset. As the longest-serving member of the Knesset (MK), he was appointed interim speaker of the 15th Knesset following the election, a position he held until the election of the new speaker, One Israel MK Avraham Burg, on 6 July 1999. Peres was named to a new cabinet portfolio, that of regional cooperation minister, in the coalition formed by Barak.
   On 31 July 2000, Peres, the Labor Party's candidate, was defeated by the Likud's Moshe Katzav by a vote of 63 to 57 among MKs in a special election to succeed Ezer Weizman as the president of Israel.
   After Barak's defeat by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon in the special election for prime minister in February 2001, Peres was appointed interim leader of the Israel Labor Party, a position he retained until former Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna was elected party leader on the eve of the 2003 election for the 16th Knesset. However, Peres once again became interim leader with Mitzna's quick departure following Labor's disastrous showing in the election, when the Labor-Meimad coalition took only 19 seats (down from 26 in the 1999 election). In March 2001, Peres was appointed foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the broad-based national unity coalition formed by Sharon; Peres held this position until Labor's departure from the coalition in October 2002. When Labor reentered the coalition on 10 January 2005, Peres became vice premier. On 9 November 2005, the Israel Labor Party held a leadership primary in preparation for anticipated early elections to the 17th Knesset. Despite a consistent lead over all competitors in public opinion surveys, Peres was defeated in the first round of voting, taking 40 percent of the vote among Labor Party members compared to 42.4 percent for Histadrut leader and former One People (Am Echad) leader Amir Peretz. (Ironically, it was Peres who was largely responsible for facilitating the reintegration of Peretz and One People with Labor in May 2004). On 30 November 2005, Peres ended his six-decade-long relationship with the Israel Labor Party and announced his support for Prime Minister Sharon's new centrist Kadima Party in the election for the 17th Knesset. On 28 March 2006, Peres was reelected to the 17th Knesset on the Kadima list and was named vice prime minister and minister for the development of the Negev and Galilee in the Ehud Olmert government established in May 2006.
   On 13 June 2007, Peres was elected Israel's ninth president. As the candidate for the governing Kadima Party, he received the support of 58 of 120 MKs, compared to 21 votes for MK Colette Avital (Israel Labor Party) and 37 for MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud). Peres succeeded Katzav, who had resigned in disgrace on 1 July 2007, and took the oath of office on 15 July 2007.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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  • Peres, Shimon — orig. Shimon Perski born Aug. 16, 1923, Wołożyn, Pol. Polish born Israeli statesman. He immigrated to Palestine with his family in 1934 and joined the Haganah organization in 1947. After Israel achieved independence, he held a number of positions …   Universalium

  • Peres, Shimon — ► (n. 1923) Político israelí. Fue secretario del movimiento de juventud de la Central Sindical Israelí y combatiente de la organización paramilitar judía Haganah en la guerra de 1948. Fue primer ministro de Israel en 1984 86 y 1995 96. Recibió el …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Peres,Shimon — Per·es (pârʹĕs), Shimon. Born 1923. Polish born Israeli political leader who served as prime minister (1977, 1984 1986, and 1995 1996). He shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization. * * * …   Universalium

  • Peres, Shimon — (b. 1923)    Israeli politician. Peres was born in Poland and educated at New York and Harvard Universities. He settled in Palestine in 1934. Before independence he was a member of the Haganah movement and he became Head of the Israel Naval… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Peres, Shimon — (b. 1923)    Israeli politician, of Polish origin. He went to Palestine in 1934. He served as chairman of the labour party from 1977. He was acting prime minister in 1987 and prime minister of Israel in 1984 6. His publications include From these …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Peres — Peres, Shimon …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Shimon Peres — שמעון פרס …   Wikipedia Español

  • Shimon Pérès — Shimon Peres Pour les articles homonymes, voir Peres. Shimon Peres שמעון פרס شمعون بيرس …   Wikipédia en Français

  • pères — ● pères nom masculin pluriel Littéraire. Précédé d un déterminant possessif, les ancêtres, les aïeux : Du temps de nos pères. Peres (Shimon) (né en 1923) homme politique israélien. Travailliste, Premier ministre en 1977 et en 1984 1986, ministre… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Shimon Peres — Infobox President name = Shimon Peres שמעון פרס order = President of Israel primeminister = Ehud Olmert vicepresident = term start = 15 July 2007 term end = predecessor = Moshe Katsav successor = order2 = Prime Minister of Israel president2 =… …   Wikipedia

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