“No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel” by Shimon Peres— Last Words from One of Israel’s Founding Fathers

Peres, Shimon. “No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel”, Custom House, 2017.

Last Words from One of Israel’s Founding Fathers

Amos Lassen

Shimon Peres was one of Israel’s founding generation. He was a tireless advocate for peace, who lived his life with a sense of hope and possibility. These are his final words and they deliver a strong message.

Shimon Peres was eleven-years-old when he emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland in 1934. He left behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Peres become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century and served Israel as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would give the young country its military power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped to save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. As important as his role was in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, he transitioned from hawk to dove and held an unwavering commitment to peace.

Peres finished writing this book only a few weeks before his death and in it he examines the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the eyes of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Much of his book is about what happened and why it happened. He explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress. He shares the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the freeing nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. By doing so, he charts a better path forward for his Israel and gives deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead in any area. Amos Oz has said that he was one of the great leaders of Israel for more than half a century, was an unusual statesman: a dreamer and a pragmatist, a thinker and a doer, a fearless campaigner for peace and compromise and a tireless builder of Israel’s armed forces” and this is what makes this book so special. His voice and vision are not only still with us, and just as forceful and relevant as ever.

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