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Shimon Peres ( Hebrew: שמעון פרס; born Szymon Perski; August 2, 1923 – September 28, 2016) was a Polish-born Israeli statesman. He was the ninth President of Israel, serving from 2007 to 2014. Peres served twice as the Prime Minister of Israel and twice as Interim Prime Minister, and he was a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President, serving in the role for another 7 years. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he was the world's oldest head of state. He was considered the last link to Israel's founding generation.
From a young age, he was renowned for his oratorical brilliance. He began his over 66 year-long political career in the late 1940s, holding several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel's War of Independence. His first high-level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952 which he attained at the age of 28, and Director-General from 1953 until 1959. In the 1950s, he took part in negotiations on the Protocol of Sèvres described by British Prime Minister Anthony Eden as the "highest form of statesmanship." Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords. During his career, he represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima, and led Alignment and Labor. In his private life, he was a poet, writing stanzas during cabinet meetings, some of which would later be turned into songs. As a result of his deep literary interests, he could quote from Old Testament prophets, French literature and Chinese philosophy with equal ease.
Following a massive stroke, Peres died after two weeks of hospitalization at the Sheba medical center near Tel-Aviv on September 28, 2016.