Categorized | Middle East

Peres delivers his farewell as Israel’s president

Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres

JERUSALEM (Press Release)–Shimon Peres delivered a farewell address to the Knesset on Thursday, July 24, his last day in office as Israel’s President.  Following is a text of his remarks:

Members of Knesset,

I have come to bid you farewell as a citizen, as a man whose dream is still alive. As a man who has learned from experience that the greatness of Israel’s reality is greater than the dream which begot it at its dawn.

I am taking leave of my position as President, but not from my duty as a citizen. I was a President who loved his people. As of now, I am a citizen in love with my people.

I will not give up my right to serve my people and my country. And I will continue to help build my country, with a deep belief that one day it will know peace. That Israel will uphold social justice and will raise its eyes to the realized dream of its prophets. That Israel will continue to be Jewish in its legacy and democratic in its practices. That it will safeguard freedom of speech and freedom of research.

That it will continue to excel in its scientific work on a global scale. That it will be a moral country. A country which will practice equality for all its citizens – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, Bedouins, and Circassians. So we promised in our Declaration of Independence. So we proclaimed in our book of laws. So we practiced upon the commands of our authorities.

The social vision of the prophet Amos, as the political vision of the prophet Isaiah, are our guiding lights. They commanded us to take social justice and world peace as guiding principles for our actions.

Israel was born on the foundations of its principles. Today it grows on the shoulders of science. There is no contradiction between the two and there shouldn’t be.

During my visits to the many unique and diverse corners of Israel, I entered each place with an explorer’s curiosity and returned with a heart full of pride.

I discovered everywhere, and every time, hardworking people, endless talent, wonderful children and surprises which cannot be described.

Therefore, as I leave my official position I will remain a citizen filled with hope.

Hope for a better future. Hope for peace. Hope that the dream of today will create an exemplary reality. When I return to meeting the beauty and strength of the State of Israel, I find myself shedding a tear. Maybe excited slightly more than my younger friends. Because throughout my years I witnessed the entire incredible journey, and the miracles of Israel.

Alongside David Ben Gurion I saw it fighting for its life. With few resources but endless dangers. And today, I see her standing strong. Secure. Flourishing. Successful in every field. I see my country promising an exciting future for our sons and daughters.

Friends, Reuven Rivlin, the next elected President of Israel,

I wish you success, that you should serve the nation in your own positive way, as you already do. With your great heart, with your face full of light, you already have what is expected from a president. I am sure you will succeed in your way and strengthen the future of the State of Israel

Members of Knesset,

The nature of parliamentary democracy is ongoing, passionate debate. This is democracy. This is how it should be. If I may, particularly in these days when we must stand united, in these difficult days in which the eyes of the nation are on its leaders, on you. Please – do not lessen the debate. It is the essence of democracy. And it must remain. But do it with mutual respect, with a sense of shared destiny and with great respect for the Israeli public, which is unlike any other. They deserve no less from their representatives.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

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