By Anshel Pfeffer, March 11, 2010
Two or three times a day, Shimon Peres stands in the President's mansion, receiving groups of blushing beauty queens, farmers and international parliamentarians. Each group gets its share of smiles, joint photographs and the standard joke, always some reference to the great man's age.
In the absence of a royal family, only the 86-year-old mega-statesman can lend grandeur to the informality of Israeli official events.
But no one ever expected him to be just a figurehead. The man eternally branded by Yitzhak Rabin as "a tireless schemer" could not stop playing politics even if he tried.