Israeli Ambassador Raphael Barak issued the following statement today on the death of Shimon Peres, the former president and prime minister of Israel:
“Last night, the people of Israel lost a national hero. Shimon Peres was more than a politician, his life story reads as a history of modern Israel.
“In his early years, Shimon Peres helped lay the foundation for an independent state in the national homeland of the Jewish people. He built our institutions to make us a strong democracy and developed our defence capabilities to ensure our survival.
“A leader who fought for Israel’s security, he would also become a champion of peace. He was a tireless advocate of peaceful coexistence with Israel’s neighbours and his Nobel Peace Prize was a testament to how his optimistic message of hope transcended the region.
“This vision for a better future also made him an early advocate of the important role of science and technology. He understood that innovation was more than just about improving the economy, it was about improving life for future generations.
“Visiting Canada on several occasions, Shimon Peres played a key part in strengthening the special friendship between Canada and Israel – a bond rooted in shared democratic values, but given life by people-to-people connections in innovation, including his role in creating the Canada-Israel Industrial Research Foundation and partnerships in brain research.
“Shimon Peres woke up every day with one goal in mind – to serve the country he loved. Tomorrow and for the days that follow, the people of Israel, Jewish people everywhere, and our friends in Canada will honour the life of this great statesman, but his legacy of peace and his vision for a better future will live on forever.”