Members of the Shimon Peres's family lay flowers on his grave.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The family of Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres and his wife Sonia is experiencing yet another tragedy, with the passing on Sunday of one their grandsons, Assaf Walden, at age 35.
Walden, who was the son of professors Zvia and Rafi Walden and was a popular teacher, was the family member who discovered the body of Sonia Peres, who had died in her sleep in January 2011.
The security guard at the Tel Aviv apartment block where she was living was concerned that she had not emerged from the building all morning. Her grandchildren were frequent visitors, and on that particular day, when Assaf showed up at lunch time, the security guard shared his concerns with him and asked him to open the door of her apartment.
Assaf’s father was the personal physician of Shimon Peres, and accompanied him on his trips abroad. It wasn’t a case of nepotism, but rather of having a physician who was totally familiar with the president’s state of health and the medications which he could or could not take, because the two men were together much more than would have been the case with a physician who did not have a family or social relationship with the president.
One of Assaf’s sisters, satirist Mika Almog, wrote on her Facebook account: “With indescribable pain, I [say] farewell to my little brother. Twenty years of an incomparable stubborn and courageous struggle have come to an end. He was 35, and he was fabulous. I loved him so much.”
Professor Zvia Walden, who was the first-born of the three Peres siblings, is a noted philologist.
Assaf Walden was not the first member of the Peres family to die young. His cousin, film-maker Uzi Peres – for whom a significant section of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque has been named – was killed in a plane crash over the Himalayas in 1992. Uzi was the son of Gershon (Gidi) Peres, the president’s younger brother, who died at age 85 in September 2011, eight months after the death of Sonia Peres. Shimon Peres died almost exactly five years later.
The funeral of Assaf Walden will take place today, Tuesday, at 11 a.m. at the Menucha Nechona Cemetery in Kfar Saba.
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