Thanks to the hyper-connected Vice Chairman of NetApp, Tom Mendoza, I was honoured to have the opportunity to meet Shimon Peres two years ago in Jerusalem. Today is a sad day to hear of his passing, even if reaching the ripe old age of 93 is a magnificent innings. I have not met many famous people and certainly none of Shimon Peres stature. It is an aphorism that you should never meet your heroes, as they invariably disappoint. Before June 2014 I couldn’t honestly say that Peres was a hero of mine – in fact I was rather ignorant of Israel’s history. Since then however I have studied it relatively deeply and, am now firmly aware of what puts him in the category of a hero to me now. Certainly the sharpest 91 year old I have ever met. I have written before on that particular meeting so I will not riff deeply on it again but I wanted to acknowledge what a great life he lived and what a massive contribution he made to Middle East politics and society. When his first question to use was “so what do you think about the power of nanotechnology to affect healthcare across the Middle East?” we realised he wasn’t your archetypal nonagenarian. Sure he polarised opinion. Some of the obituaries have not been 100% eulogistic (eg Daily Telegraph) whilst others have been very balanced and acknowledged his genius – as Bill Clinton said today. However no-one can doubt his place in history and his enduring influence in Israeli society and politics.
RIP Mr Peres.