Former Israeli President Shimon Peres died on 28 September 2016. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate did sterling work to foster German-Israeli relations. On the first anniversary of Shimon Peres’ death, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “Germany mourns the loss of a close friend who worked throughout his life for reconciliation and understanding, thus making him a role model for generations of people.”
A vivid memory of Peres’ speech to the German Bundestag
In a speech to the German Bundestag in 2010, Shimon Peres said: “The bridge built across the ravine was built by painful hands and shoulders that were carrying the burden of memory. It rests on strong moral foundations.” The unique friendship that has developed between Israel and Germany would be inconceivable without Shimon Peres.
Gabriel said he had been profoundly moved by Peres’ speech to the German Bundestag. “He wove the strands of the past and the future together in his unique way, primarily focusing on young people.”
No quarter for anti-Semitism or xenophobia
Foreign Minister Gabriel said the fact that unique and wide-ranging relations between Israel and Germany were possible after the crime against humanity of the Shoah and that there was now a large Jewish community in Germany again was a miracle for which he was grateful.
“It is vital to preserve this gift, not only here and now, but also at all times in the future. That must be beyond a doubt, especially in times like these. We will give no quarter to xenophobia, anti-Semitism and marginalisation in Germany,” Gabriel said.
The Shimon Peres Prize honours young people’s dedication
During his term as Foreign Minister, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier launched an initiative to establish a Shimon Peres Prize, with the aim of paying tribute to Shimon Peres’ lasting importance for German-Israeli relations and regional and global peace initiatives.
It was a matter of personal importance to Foreign Minister Gabriel to continue this initiative. He will award the first prizes in person on 10 October. The prize pays tribute to young people in Germany and Israel who work to foster the future of the unique relations between Germans and Israelis. Members of the Peres family will also attend the prize-giving ceremony.