Former Shas Party MK, Nissim Ze’ev, in an interview with Arutz Sheva, estimates that in his last years, Shimon Peres changed his views on the Middle East.
“He was a man who believed in the vision of a new Middle East, he thought there was a chance for change but then turned around when he became president, maybe at that point he understood more of what the people of Israel have been through. He understood that returning land wouldn’t necessarily bring peace once he saw what was happening to our neighbors in Syria and Egypt, I’m sure he changed his views.”
“But despite all that he was a true protector of the State of Israel and the current Prime Minister relied upon him for his opinions because his wisdom was accepted all over the world,” Ze’ev told Arutz Sheva.
Ze’ev praised Peres for his Torah knowledge saying that he was knowledgeable in such a vast range of subjects and had true respect for Jewish heritage. He explained that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef voted for Peres as president because of his stance on yeshiva students saying, “Peres increased the number of yeshiva students who could receive a deferment from the army from 400 in Ben Gurion’s time to 4000 and even more than that.”
“We never heard him attack those who study Torah the way other politicians do, including past prime ministers, at every chance they get, who say that Torah students are just a burden on the state. Peres thought that enlistment needed to be gradual and through dialogue. He never used his status in order to slander the world of Torah,“ Ze’ev said.
He added that “The world saw Peres as a source of wisdom, he represented Israel even though he was no longer Prime Minister, he was always treated as a leader and was given so much respect, even in the face of the waves of hatred against Israel. May he be of blessed memory.”