Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and other dignitaries attended a memorial event yesterday to mark a year since Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, died.
The event was held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, with the participation of Israeli and international leaders in hi-tech and innovation.
Addressing the audience, President Rivlin said it “is hard to believe that a year has passed since we had to say goodbye to Shimon Peres. The man who made us believe that not time, nor vision, nor deed can be halted”.
Reflecting on one of his last conversations with President Peres before his death, President Rivlin said: “We talked about the huge benefits found in the State of Israel, the advantages that have made us an exceptional innovation lab exporting knowledge and expertise to the world, and which itself does not stop innovating.”
President Rivlin also spoke about the lasting legacy of President Peres, one of the founding fathers of the State of Israel. Rivlin said that “Zionism brought with it the understanding that the state is built not just with the mind, but also with the hands… so believed Zionism’s founding fathers. So we became farmers and builders, and established a manufacturing industry, led by a defence industry and a textile industry, industry that was for many years the pride of Israeli creativity – with body and mind”.
Peres’s son and Chair of the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation Chemi Peres, and Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems John Chambers also spoke at the event.
Chemi Peres said his “father’s vision was of the future,” saying that the Peres Centre “will continue to realise his vision… and give every young person and child the right to dream big”.
Referring to Israel’s development in technology, Chambers said that “in a few years, 50 percent of today’s professions will be irrelevant, and Shimon [Peres] understood this and acted to prepare the State of Israel for this revolution”.
He added: “Now is the time to introduce new communities into the world of innovation. When I visit Israel, I meet with heads of start-ups from all walks of life – and that’s amazing to me. This is the true meaning behind start-ups in Israel.”