Shimon Peres (Hebrew: שמעון פרס; born Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was a Polish-born Israeli statesman. He was the ninth President of Israel from 2007 to 2014. Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister, and he was a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President.
He held several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel’s War of Independence. His first high-level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952, and Director-General from 1953 until 1959. During his career, he represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima, and led Alignment and Labor. Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords.
Peres was nominated in early 2007 by Kadima to run in that year’s presidential election, and was elected by the Knesset to the presidency on 13 June 2007 and sworn into office on 15 July 2007 for a seven-year term. He was the first former Prime Minister to be elected President of Israel. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he was the world’s oldest head of state. In his private life, he was an amateur poet, with some of his poems being turned into songs.
After suffering a massive stroke, Peres died after two weeks of hospitalization on 28 September 2016.