The White House just confirmed that President Obama will lead an American delegation to Israel to take part in Shimon Peres’s funeral on Friday.
The White House confirmed on Wednesday that President Barack Obama would travel to Israel to take part in the funeral of former President Shimon Peres on Friday.
“President Barack Obama will lead the U.S. delegation to Jerusalem to participate in the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres. The President will depart on September 29 and will return to Washington, D.C. following the ceremony on September 30,” the White House said in a statement.
While initial reports said that Obama would attend Peres’s funeral, there were some logistical issues which placed questions on whether the president would indeed be able to take part.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier on Wednesday that Obama hopes to attend Peres’s funeral and added that the White House is working on the logistics.
The U.S. president praised Peres in a written statement Wednesday morning, calling him, “My Friend Shimon.”
“There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves,” the statement read.
“I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend. I first visited him in Jerusalem when I was a senator, and when I asked for his advice, he told me that while people often say that the future belongs to the young, it’s the present that really belongs to the young. ‘Leave the future to me,’ he said, ‘I have time.’ And he was right. Whether it was during our conversations in the Oval Office, walking together through Yad Vashem, or when I presented him with America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, Shimon always looked to the future. He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together. He brought young people from around the world together because he knew they could carry us closer to our ideals of justice and equality,” said Obama.
“A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever. Shimon Peres was a soldier for Israel, for the Jewish people, for justice, for peace, and for the belief that we can be true to our best selves – to the very end of our time on Earth, and in the legacy that we leave to others. For the gift of his friendship and the example of his leadership, todah rabah, Shimon.”
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