Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres (shē´mōn pâr´ĕs), 1923–, Israeli politician, b. Vishniva, Poland (now in Belarus) as Shimon Perski. He and his parents emigrated to Palestine in 1934; his grandparents were killed in the Holocaust. Before the birth of the Israeli nation (1949) he served as manpower chief of the Haganah, the fledgling Jewish military. He subsequently was Israel's head of naval services and became director-general of the defense ministry in 1952.

Peres was first elected to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in 1959. Instrumental in the formation of the Labor party (1968), Peres was minister of defense from 1974 to 1977, when he was elected party chairman. After losing two bids (1977 and 1981) for the prime ministership, he alternated (1984–86) in the office with Likud party leader Yitzhak Shamir in a national unity government and was widely praised for helping to remove Israeli troops from Lebanon and for slashing runaway inflation. He was later foreign minister (1986) and, after again losing to Shamir (1988), finance minister in unity governments led by the prime minister.

In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin, who had just ousted Peres as Labor party leader, became prime minister and appointed Peres foreign minister. Peres negotiated the historic Oslo peace accords (1993) with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), for which he was awarded, with Rabin and PLO leader Yasir Arafat, the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. In Nov., 1995, Rabin was assassinated, and Peres succeeded him as prime minister and defense minister. In the May, 1996, elections he narrowly lost the prime ministership to the Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu.

After the 1999 election of Ehud Barak as prime minister, Peres was named minister of regional cooperation. In 2000 he was defeated in a Knesset election for the largely ceremonial position of president of Israel. Following Barak's defeat (2001) by Ariel Sharon, Peres became foreign minister in a government of national unity (2001–2) and later vice prime minister in a Likud-and-Labor-dominated coalition government (2005). Meanwhile, he again became party leader in 2003, but lost the post in late 2005 to union leader Amir Peretz. Subsequently, Peres lent his support to Sharon's formation (2005) of the centrist Kadima party. Under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Sharon's successor, Peres served (2006–7) as vice prime minister and minister for the development of the Negev and Galilee. From 2007 to 2014 he was president of Israel, a largely ceremonial post.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Shimon Peres: Selected full-text books and articles

An Historical Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict By Joseph E. Goldberg; Bernard Reich; Stephen H. Gotowicki; Sanford R. Silverburg; Mark Daryl Erickson Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Peres, Shimon" begins on p. 409
Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accord By David Makovsky Westview Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Rabin-Peres Relationship" begins on p. 92
Against All the Odds: Peres Bows Out By Album, Andrew The Middle East, No. 258, July-August 1996
The Second Republic: Politics in Israel By Alan Arian Chatham House, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Shimon Peres in multiple chapters
The Sword and the Olive: A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Force By Martin Van Creveld PublicAffairs, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Shimon Peres in multiple chapters
The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul By Yoram Hazony Basic Books, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Foreign Affairs" begins on p. 62
The Government and Politics of Israel By Don Peretz; Gideon Doron Westview Press, 1997 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Shimon Peres in multiple chapters
The Middle East and the Peace Process: The Impact of the Oslo Accords By Robert O. Freedman University Press of Florida, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Shimon Peres in multiple chapters
Israel and the Bomb By Avner Cohen Columbia University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Shimon Peres" begins on p. 17
The Middle East from the Iran-Contra Affair to the Intifada By Robert O. Freedman Syracuse University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Shimon Peres in multiple chapters
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.