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Photo by: Yosef Avi Yair Angel
Peres returns to roots in Moshav Movement talks
By GREER FAY CASHMAN
01/01/2013
President waxes nostalgic about his farming days when he was a student at Ben Shemen Youth Village.
 
A widely held opinion among educators and psychologists is that what is learned and properly absorbed in youth stays with an individual forever, regardless of career or lifestyle changes. Thus, it was hardly surprising that President Shimon Peres, the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s opening of the conference on the Moshav Movement, waxed nostalgic about his farming days when he was a student at the Ben Shemen Youth Village.

Today, a large agricultural boarding school is located adjacent to Moshav Ben Shemen.

It was at Ben Shemen that Peres met his late wife, Sonia, who is buried there, and whom he often describes as the love of his life.

Speaking from the stage of the Achva Academic College in Be’er Tuviya where the conference was held, Peres recalled how he wooed the lovely young Sonia by inviting her to join him as he tended the cucumbers and watered the fields on the moshav.

To this day he said, he has a special feeling for agriculture.

Indeed, at harvest time, when kibbutz and moshav representatives bring him large hampers of fruits and vegetables, they are amazed by how well he knows the strains and the quality of each.

“I have a warm regard for agriculture, and for the Moshav Movement and the wonderful youth it has raised,” said Peres, who noted the sterling contribution that young moshavniks make to the country not only as farmers, but as soldiers.

Peres referred to statistics published Tuesday that indicate that youth who work on settlements – namely moshavim and kibbutzim – have the best record for enlistment in the army as well as for becoming officers and commanders.

They bring great pride to the nation, and set a fine example, said Peres.

Turning to developments on the moshavim, Peres spoke glowingly of what hi-tech has contributed to the quality and quantity of produce and milk yields, and how the moshavim, though representing only a tiny ratio of the population, contribute to half the national food needs.

In deference to the president’s ongoing quest for peace in the region, his ascent to the stage was accompanied by the strains of “I Was Born For Peace,” lustily sung by moshav youth.

Peres also joined them in singing “Blue Shirt,” the anthem of working youth.
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