Peres had appreciation of power and impact of sports

Peres’s passing will be marked ahead of every soccer match in Israel’s Premier League and National League this weekend, with a moment of silence to be held in his honor.

By
September 29, 2016 05:17
1 minute read.
SHIMON PERES kicks a soccer ball to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (right) during the Spanish club

SHIMON PERES kicks a soccer ball to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (right) during the Spanish club’s ‘Peace Tour’ trip to Israel in the summer of 2013.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Israeli sport mourned the death of Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres on Wednesday, with associations, clubs and players all reflecting on the loss of a man who had a close relationship with the sporting world, understanding its importance as a tool to promote peace and co-existence.

Peres often met with sporting greats visiting the country during his time as president and also after he left office, with the Peres Center for Peace being involved in numerous initiatives involving the biggest names in sport and using sports as a way to bridge differences and create peace.

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Peres’s passing will be marked ahead of every soccer match in Israel’s Premier League and National League this weekend, with a moment of silence to be held in his honor.

A moment of silence will also be held ahead of Thursday’s basketball Winner Cup semifinals in Nahariya.

Among those who eulogized Peres was Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club chairman, Shimon Mizrahi.

“I had the honor and the pleasure of knowing Shimon Peres on a personal level,” he said. “A man of many talents and accomplishments and one of the true greats who will be remembered as a cornerstone of Israel as a nation.

He showed a lot of interest in sports and was the number 1 fan of any and all Israeli sports teams.



“He knew how to use sports as a tool to promote peace and understood the importance of sports figures as instruments of peace,” added Mizrahi.

Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi and Israel national team midfielder Eran Zahavi were among those who mourned Peres’s loss on social media, with Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club owner Mitch Goldhar also sharing a personal story about Peres.

“Israel has never existed without Shimon Peres. His influence on the state, the region and the world will be felt for a long time; and we should be grateful for that,” said Goldhar. “I had the pleasure and honor of meeting him on numerous occasions and in fact had dinner with him as recently as two months ago.

“He was a courageous and inspirational man with a sharp intellect and always made those in his company feel like a friend.”

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