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Looking forward

November 24, 2016 23:12

There could be no clearer demonstration of the esteem in which Shimon Peres was held than the attendance list at his funeral. From the Prince of Wales to the US President, the world recognised that Israel - and the international community - has lost a towering giant.

We pay tribute elsewhere to his life and career. But it is difficult to imagine a similar display of mourning for any other Israeli or indeed many other figures anywhere. His passing really does mark the end of an era. As we move to the start of a new year, it is appropriate not only to look back at his life, with its stretch of almost a century, but also to think about the future.

Throughout his life, Mr Peres looked forward. And he did not merely see the glass as being half full; he retained an optimism that many of us could learn from.

Entering this new year, so much looks bleak. Next to Israel, Syria looks hopeless and dangerous. There is no sign that the Palestinians are any nearer finding a leadership that can move from the path of anger and conflict. The delegitimisation movement is strong. The poison of radical Islam still infects too many and the terrorists remain a worrying threat to all of us. The list goes on.

But, pace Mr Peres, there are many grounds for optimism. In Syria and Iraq, Daesh is on the run. Israel goes from economic strength to strength, its vibrant creativity and technological genius leading the world. The antisemitic BDS movement suffers continual setbacks. And here, it is easy to take for granted that we live in a country whose government remains committed to funding our security.

At the very least, the future is ours to shape. Which was the message that Shimon Peres spread throughout his life. Shana Tova.

November 24, 2016 23:12

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