Shimon Peres 311.
(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres celebrates his 87th birthday on August 2nd.
Peres remains young in spirit, mentally alert, capable of
extemporaneously delivering in-depth speeches, up to date on national and
international news, curious about new developments in science and technology, au
fait with the latest in literature, and engaging when talking to young
Straight-backed and able to maintain a walking pace with people
half his age, Peres often spends hours on his feet. He often prefers stairs to
elevators.RELATED:Peres, Mubarak discuss direct talks3 years into his presidency, Peres is still charging ahead
He still finds time to write both poetry and prose. He
recently completed a biography about his mentor David Ben-Gurion that is due to
be published by Schocken next year.
By the Hebrew calendar, Peres
celebrated his birthday this past weekend. He was born on the 20th of Av, a date
he seems to have remembered only after taking office as president three years
Before that, his CV listed his Gregorian calendar birthday as August
16, 1923. Last year, at the initiative of producer and composer Kobi Oshrat, an
album of songs written by Peres and performed by some of the country’s leading
singers, was launched at a celebrity concert in Tel Aviv on August
This year, Peres will be honored, again on August 16, at a celebrity
studded variety show at the Cameri Theater in the same city.
been the oldest elected head of state in the world since last year, when Fiji’s
president, Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, resigned at age 88.
been known to briefly close his eyes in public, but it happens infrequently, and
when it does, it’s only for a few seconds.
If Peres completes his
sevenyear term, he will be 91.
The president maintains a grueling
schedule, rising before dawn hours to catch up with his reading and writing, and
launching into his daily round of meetings at 8 a.m. – sometimes even
Last month, when he celebrated his third year in office, Peres
admitted to reporters that he does occasionally miss the controversial aspects
of politics, but he doesn’t miss being a politician.
He had enjoyed all
the roles he had played in the development of the state, he said, but regretted
the time wasted in arguments, power struggles and administrative
Something he jokingly hints about changing is the time honored
Jewish birthday wish – “to 120,” as Moses is said to have lived to that age.
Peres hopes to be around for a few more decades.
The only true blight on
the presidency is the separation from his wife of 65 years, Sonia, who has
always shunned the limelight and did not participate in his public life other
than during his first stint as prime minister.
She did not want him to
run for president, but rather to remain at home with her during their twilight
Peres has said that he would love to spend weekends at his home in
Ramat Aviv, but that under the circumstances, that was not
Career-wise he has no regrets, saying these had been the three
happiest years of his career.
Happy birthday, Mr. President.