Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shimon Peres' speech on the occasion of his inauguration as President

Haaretz :
...I did not dream of becoming president. My dream as a boy was to be a shepherd or a poet of stars. Having been elected, it is a great honor for me and I do not disparage it, to express the secret yearning and the overt goals of the nation to perform justice. To express the unifying and to respect the unique.

I know that the president is not a governor, is not a judge, is not a lawmaker, but he is permitted to dream, to set values, to lead with honesty and with compassion, with courage and with kindness.

There is nothing prohibiting the president from performing good deeds. He is entitled, and even obligated, to serve his nation, that is his people, to nurture love of the people, of the state, of all creatures, to draw closer those who are far away, to look to the far distance. To help the weak, to comfort the bereaved, to bring people together, to increase equality, to bridge differences, to support spiritual and scientific creativity. ...

2 comments:

lal said...

flowery words but stirringly apt as a
disinfectant after the last president.
peres a bundle of unrelenting ambition even in his 80s has yet another chance to endear himself to the israeli people who have never fully trusted him as a leader.

Alan Jay Weisbard said...

Peres, like a great many politicians, has enormous ambition, and shows it more than most. He has also accomplished a great deal over his long career.
It is true that Peres (like Abba Eban before him) has not won the affection of the Israeli voting public commensurate with the respect he is accorded by international and elite groups. He has made serious political errors of judgment over the years, including (several times) over-estimating the support he would receive from the voting public.
I'm inclined to think judgments of Peres need to be on-balance, over a long career matters. I hope he can crown that career with progress toward a meaningful peace.
It is good to be past Israel's last president. In general, I would prefer non-political figures respected for great accomplishments in other life domains (particularly scholarship, esp on Jewish matters) to serve as President of the State, which is mostly an honorific position, not a political one.