29 september 2016, shimon

Netanyahu (see 18 april 2015, bibin there, done that) was the arch rival of peres, but for once had an appropriate remark, that yesterday was the first in the history of the state of israel without shimon. Would that he had been so eloquent in the vicious and virulent remarks he made and tolerated in the days that led, directly, to the assassination of rabin, peres's other long-time rival but by then, finally, friend, lauded as a brother-in-arms in the very last speech he ever made, the night he was shot. I was in the square that night, weeping with the rest, understanding that israel has somehow changed. As he was at almost every junction in israel's history, peres was instrumental both before and after that night, in the signing of the state's best chance at peace, oslo, and in its implementation in the face of horrendous resistance, right through until he lost the election to netanyahu, under whom peace is, and seemingly always will be, a lost aspiration - read and that's how it ended. Our eldest's middle name is shimon, after peres of course, such was his presence in earlier life, as a paradigm of pragmatic peacemaking; I saw him up close many times. When I listened to him in london, just as the second intifada broke out, his bewailing and blame for arafat, whose hand he once so famously held, was jarring, so much more as he followed through to become aid and fig leaf to sharon, once the antithesis of all peres seemed to stand for, at least from afar. And yet, between these giants of a bygone age was certainly more in common that divided them. Theirs were dreams of a new and sustainable jewish state, even if they had different visions of what that might look like. None of their visions are the israel of tomorrow - those, if they exist, are ours.