Shimon Peres in his own words


The late Israeli President was renowned for his eloquent, insightful turns-of-phrase. Here are some of his better known quotes:

On life

“Optimists and pessimists die the exact same death, but they live very different lives!”

“I read when I get up in the morning, when I can during the day and every single evening. Most of my weekends are spent reading great books. Books are my constant companions. If you eat three times a day you'll be fed. But if you read three times a day you'll be wise.”

On the UK

“There is in England a saying that an antisemite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.”

“Israel was born under the British mandate. We learned from the British what democracy means, and how it behaves in a time of danger, war and terror. We thank Britain for introducing freedom and respect of human rights both in normal and demanding circumstances.”

On democracy

“You know who is against democracy in the Middle East? The husbands. They got used to their way of life. Now, the traditional way of life must change. Everybody must change. If you don't give equal rights to women, you can't progress.”

“Television has made dictatorship impossible but democracy unbearable.”

On love

“Early in the morning, I fell in love with the girl that later on became my wife. At that time, we were so naive. I wanted to charm her, so I read her Capital by Marx. I thought somehow she would be convinced by the strength of his criticism about capital.”

On leadership

“Leading the Jewish people is not easy - we are a divided, obstinate, highly individualistic people who have cultivated faith, sharp wittedness and polemics to a very high level.”

On peace

“Why cross and ocean when you can cross a river? Why should we sail to Washington when we can meet right away 10 miles from here?”

“If the world is suspicious that Israel may detonate a nuclear bomb and the suspicion is a deterrent - that's good enough.”

“You don't make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavoury enemies.”

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