Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres dies at 93

JERUSALEM, Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace prize laureate who suffered a stroke two weeks ago, has died at age 93, the Israel News Agency said.

Former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres, a co-winner of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo Peace Accords, has died age 93. Peres suffered a stroke on Sept. 13. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

Peres had been on a respirator in a Tel Aviv hospital after the stroke on Sept. 13, but had seriously deteriorated in a recent days.

Peres’ crowning achievement was as one of the key players in the Oslo peace accords, in which he won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with then Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat.

The award recognized their work as the architects of the 1993 interim peace deal known as the Oslo Accords – a pact that to Peres’s dismay never hardened into a lasting treaty.

Born Szymon Perski on August 2, 1923, in Wiszniewo, Poland, and grew up in Tel Aviv, after his family immigrated to Palestine in the early 1930s.

Peres served in Israel’s War of Independence as head of the naval services, later became the youngest director-general of the Defense Ministry at age 29, helping develop Israel’s ministry and aerospace industry.

He was elected to the Knesset in 1959, and served as prime minister from 1984 to 1986 and again as acting prime minister for seven months in 1995 and 1996 following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Peres was also elected president in 2007 and served in a multitude of other cabinet positions during his decades of service.

Peres finished his seven-year term as president two weeks before his 91st birthday.

He created the Peres Center for Peace in 1997 to support Arab-Israeli joint ventures and he authored 12 books.

By Shawn Price