Miriam Peretz
Miriam Peretz Hadas Porush, Flash 90

Educator Miriam Peretz downplayed calls that she run for president of Israel, following her inspirational speech at the 2018 Israel Prize awards ceremony last week.

Peretz, who lost two sons in Israel’s wars within a span of 12 years, won the prestigious Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, along with human rights activist and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, and former cabinet minister David Levy. Speaking on behalf of all 2018 Israel Prize laureates during the prize’s award ceremony on Thursday night, Peretz described how she had transformed her grief into a “new melody,” and how building a nation was "more than just pain and tears."

“I have a heart that was broken three times with terrible announcements: The loss of my eldest son Uriel in battle in Lebanon, the death of my partner Eliezer due to a broken heart, and the loss of my second son in battle in Gaza,” she recalled.

“With that heart I came to my nation and in simple words, in the language of a broken heart, I spoke of this land and its legacy, of choosing goodness, of happiness, of devotion to life, of responsibility, of social involvement, and out of that heart which beats with faith in this country and this nation, out of the great depth of pain flowed springs of love.

“When the heart is full of faith, it can withstand great challenges. I turned my grief into a new melody."

The speech garnered widespread praise and calls for Peretz to run for president. Education Minister Naftali Bennett instructed that the speech be studied in schools throughout the country, explaining that Peretz had “united and uplifted in her speech a whole nation when she succeeded in portraying the yearning of Israeli society for unity and partnership.”

However, speaking to Keshet 12 this morning, Sunday, Peretz said that it’s “not the time or place” for her to run for president.

“If my messages succeed in uniting, then I have contributed my part,” she said. “I don’t think it’s the time to speak about running for president. I am a believing person and, therefore, I believe that the Holy One, Blessed be He will put me in the places that are right for me and for the Jewish people.”

“I always leave everything open and let life lead me - in my opinion, it’s not the time or place. I bless President Ruvi Rivlin with health and success in the important mission of representing the people,” she added.