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Full text of Zvia Walden’s eulogy for her father, Shimon Peres

Zvia Walden speaks with i24news
i24news

My father had a long and good life.

Today, I bid farewell to two people:

Peres – Shimon, his Excellency, that is Mr. President.

And I say goodbye to the man my mother called Buzhik, and I called father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

The first was Peres of the state, of the people, the citizen of the world. Others will eulogize that Peres. I will share a few private moments.

The world will remember the determined Peres who never stopped, who kept running despite the obstacles, and despite the falls along the way.

I will remember him during this past year at Friday night dinners at our home, when he was the first to rise for Kiddush, holding the booklet with the Shabbat songs printed in tiny letters, trying to make out the words of the songs through his thick lenses, never skipping a word, singing at the top of his lungs.

He was described as a great negotiator, as someone who always found a way to get what he wanted.

To me he was a young man who used his creative skills to get us to eat. Who cut sandwiches into triangles and diamonds. Try this. It’s a Burmese sandwich. My father pulled out all the creative stops, and used every trick of the trade to tempt us to open our mouths and eat and grow.

In the eyes of the public he will be remembered as one who dined with kings.

I remember him at the table of a French restaurant, when he whispered in my ear, it’s tastes good, but nothing compares to your mother’s salad. To him, Israel’s cucumbers and tomatoes were the finest of delicacies.

There were those who considered him an adventurer, someone who rushed to adopt every innovation.

But when I got married and decided to take the name Valden, it took him almost a year to come to terms with the idea. Whenever I came home, he would announce: Sonia, look who’s here, Mrs. Valden,” as pleased as punch.

He will be remembered as an elegant, well-dressed man, always well-groomed, who would take a small comb from his pocket to smooth his hair.

At home when we were arranging books on the shelves, and he was dressed only in khaki shorts and an undershirt, a knock was heard at the door. It’s okay, I said, it’s Rafi, but he being the complete gentleman that he was, hurried to the bedroom to put on a shirt.

Much has been said about his forbearance and infinite patience. He measured long and short on a timeline of two thousand years of history when weighing the state of the nation, but in nanoseconds when waiting for a text to be printed. He was ready with his new corrections even before the ink was dry. A day after lending me a book, he was astonished to learn that I had not yet finished reading it.

My father had a long and good life.

And all those years he was a man in love: In love with Sonia – we were just about to dedicate the Sonia House – a wellness center for the children of the Ben Shemen Youth Village, where they first met and fell in love.

Mother believed that every injustice in the world could be corrected and was always there to listen, support and help.

Father admired this trait in her.

My father had a long and good life.

And all those years he was a man in love: In love with his family, with the people of Israel, with the State of Israel. A man who loved life in the present and was in love with the promise of the future.

My father, you were a lover of life, who sprung like a lion at daybreak to fulfill his mission.

For so long, I tried to catch up with you. But now, heed my loving words, you have earned a well-deserved rest.

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