Shimon Peres' wife Sonia dies at 87

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011
Sonia Peres with her husband

Sonia Peres with her husband

The wife of the Israeli president Shimon Peres has died at the age of 87.

Sonia Peres, nee Gelman, who was born in Poland, moved with her family to British Mandate Palestine when she was four years old. She served in the British army before marrying Mr Peres in May 1945.

The couple, who had three children together, were among the founders of Kibbutz Alumot in northern Israel.

Known as a fiercely private woman, she rarely attended public events with Mr Peres, Israel’s ninth president and a former prime minister. She chose to remain in the family home in Tel Aviv rather than move into Beit Hanassi, the presidential residence.

Although she avoided public life, she was active in social causes including helping Israel’s war widows and their children. She also served for years as a volunteer for Micha, the Deaf Children’s Association.

Known for making guests feel at home, a JC article from 1986 described her as having "unobtrusive good taste" in decorating the prime ministerial residence.

Last updated: 12:02pm, January 20 2011