The Peres family conducted a press conference outside the hospital where Peres was hospitalized for the past two weeks.
Peres' son, Hemi, opened the conference by saying: “With deep sorrow we are parting from our beloved father, the head of our family, the 9th president of Israel, Shimon Peres.”
Hemi referenced his father's seven decades of public service in Israel
“Father was from the generation of founding fathers of the country. He served his nation even before the inception of the state, and the state of Israel since its inception and until his last day. Throughout 70 years of public service he worked for this state with loyalty and devotion as the ninth President, as the Prime Minister, as the Minister of Defense and a number of other positions.
"My father used to say: “The measure of a man is the size of the cause he serves,” Hemi continued, "He had no other purpose but to serve the country which he loved until his last breath."
Hemi thanked the medical staff that treated his father with devotion and wished a speedy recovery to those in the emergency room saying, “In the name of our entire family I’d like to thank the medical professionals who treated my father with loyalty, devotion and professionalism. These people are angles on earth to us. We would like to wish a speedy recovery to those who we met in these corridors in the emergency room. We are praying for your recovery.”
“We would like to thank everyone who sent their well wishes to my father, and those who supported us and held us close even from afar, with words and with prayers. We would like to thank our family and friends, citizens young and old, our brothers and sisters abroad."
"With his life and actions," Hemi continued, "father built us a future for tomorrow. He built the future with wisdom and courage, and he always tried to create pathways for peace. We had the incredible privilege of being his family but we worry that today’s loss is the nation’s loss. The pain is collective pain.”
After Hemi spoke, Rafi Walden, Shimon Peres’s son-in-law and personal physician, said “Shimon Peres had parted from us without pain or suffering. The amazing staff at the hospital fought to keep him alive while preserving his dignity and preventing his suffering. Until the stroke two weeks ago, his mind was completely in tact. Ten months ago he had a heart attack that he recovered from quite well. After that he went back to working very hard including trips to South Africa and Canada.”
Walden referred to Peres’ social action around the world remarking that, “at his meetings around the world, we had the privilege of seeing great world leaders meet with him, thirsty for knowledge and trying to learn from his extensive experience and wisdom, like students seeking knowledge from a great teacher.”
"Just an hour ago we were very touched to receive a phone call from President Barack Obama," Walden said, "who shared his feelings with us and told us about his great admiration for Peres and sent his deepest condolences from his family. Just three weeks ago I accompanied him to a conference in Italy with prominent members of the scientific community, the humanities, communications and economics. He delivered a speech that was appreciated and received well by all. The morning he had the stroke he delivered a speech that was an hour and fifteen minutes long, as he usually did, without notes, in front of members of the high tech community, a topic that was dear to his heart: bringing Israel’s technology forward. We all believed he would have more time and the nation would benefit from more of his devotion. His contribution to the nation will remain even after his death and he planted seeds for the future. His life was cut off while he was working for his greatest passion – making this country stronger and the progression of peace. His legacy will stay with us forever”
The President’s Bureau published a special message:
The President’s Bureau bows its head and is pained with deep sorrow by the death of Shimon Peres, the 9th president of the State of Israel, Prime Minister, a minister in the Israeli government, Nobel Prize winner and a man of vision and actions.
Shimon Peres, one of the founding fathers of the state, gave Israel its capability to defend itself in its early years, stood at the beginning of the inception of the IDF, he established the reactor in Dimona and ensured Israel’s security.”
After decades of service to the country, from its inception until his last breath, Peres worked towards true peace in Israel and between Israel and its neighbors. He stood at the forefront of technological advancement and making Israel into a world leader in technology that is today the start-up nation.
As Prime Minister he brought the Israeli market from its worst economic crisis when the inflation was above 400% by implementing a unique plan to balance the Israeli economy, preventing the market from crashing. Peres believed that it is the right of all Jews to live in Israel, and aided the immigration of Jews of the Former USSR to enter Israel. He was instrumental in Operation Moses which brought 8,000 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel and pushed for the release of the Prisoners of Zion.
As the president of Israel he worked to improve Israel’s position in the world and created groundbreaking centers for technology and development. In the past years he raise money and created foundations for research in the major Israeli universities that contributed to major scientific development, at the forefront of which was brain research, robotics and nano technology. In July 2016 he laid the cornerstone for the Peres Center in Yafo, together with the prime minister and and the president. He saw this as a profound gift to future generations.
With deep sorrow we are parting from one of the great men and leaders of Israel, who devoted his life to serving his country and loved Israel with all his soul. May he be of blessed memory.