‘A light has gone out’: Obama, Netanyahu and others pay tribute to Shimon Peres


Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv at the age of 93. He was an integral part of Israel’s history, serving as president, prime minister and a handful of cabinet positions over a career that spanned nearly 70 years. (Reuters)

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, one of the founders of the state of Israel and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, died early Wednesday in Tel Aviv of complications related to a stroke on Sept. 13. He was 93.

Here is how world leaders reacted to the news of his demise:

President Obama

Obama released a statement saying Peres changed “the course of human history.” Obama plans to attend the funeral, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

“I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend. A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever.”

Vice President Biden

Biden, in a statement, called Peres the “soul of Israel.”

“When he talked, everyone listened. And later, long after he’d left the room, you remembered what he said. It crept into your soul and stayed with you. Shimon Peres was truly a force of nature …

“Every nation has a soul — someone who embodies the spirit of a people. And for so many years, Shimon Peres was the soul of Israel.”

Former president Bill Clinton

Clinton, in a tweet, called Peres his “brilliant and eloquent friend.” In a statement, Clinton said:

“Israel has lost a leader who championed its security, prosperity, and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on earth. The Middle East has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation and for a future where all the children of Abraham build a better tomorrow together.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu posted a video on Twitter in which he said Peres “worked until his last days for peace and a better future for all.”

“His name will be forever engraved in the story of the rebirth of the Jewish people as one of our great leaders, as one of the founding fathers of the state of Israel.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin released a video on YouTube in which he called Peres “a symbol for the great spirit of his people” and said he “made us look far into the future.”

“As one man, he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. And we loved him. We loved him dearly.”

British royal family

Prince Charles is expected to attend the funeral services. A statement from Buckingham Palace read:

“Her Majesty warmly recalls her meeting with Mr. Peres in 2008, and sends her heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Israel at this sad time.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Trudeau, who plans to attend the service in Israel, said:

“Mr. Peres was an internationally-respected statesman and a great friend to Canada. He visited our country often, and helped build relations that remain strong to this day.”

Tony Blair, former British prime minister and former special envoy to the Quartet on the Middle East

David Cameron, former British prime minister

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Read more:

The world mourns Shimon Peres as Israel considers his legacy

The life of Shimon Peres, in photos

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