World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Sunday night presented former President Shimon Peres with the Lifetime Leadership Award at the Times of Israel Gala in New York.
In his speech, Lauder lavished praise on the former President, who concluded his term in office several months ago, and said that Peres played an important role in Israel’s survival over the past 67 years.
“The fact that Israel has not just survived over the past 67 years, but thrived, is due, in no small part, to Shimon Peres,” Lauder said. “Whether it was finding weapons to defend the State in the 1950s or creating diplomatic alliances that were crucial to Israel’s standing in the world or coming up with some of the most innovative technologies…”
He continued, “Shimon Peres has never stopped working; even today, he is pushing the ingenious idea of combining of the Red Sea and the Dead Sea in order to produce a huge amount of clean power.”
“And this is important…at a time of increasing anti-Semitism throughout the Middle East and now even in Europe, there is one man that has the unique ability and the position in the world, to pursue peace.
“That man is Shimon Peres,” declared Peres.
Lauder recalled that his grandson, when he came to Israel for his Bar Mitzvah, wanted to meet Peres.
“My grandson and all of us should have half the energy, half the brilliance and half the stamina of this man who is 91, but continues to work and achieve like he is 21,” he said.