Shimon Peres’ Memoir, Finished Shortly Before Death, Published

TEL AVIV (AP) -
Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres in 2015 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)

In a memoir completed just weeks before his death last year, former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres offers his trademark optimistic blueprint for future leadership — along with some subtle criticism of the country’s current leader.

The book offers a rare glimpse into key chapters of his extraordinary life — from his early days as a protege to David Ben-Gurion, to his covert efforts to smuggle arms to the new state and build its nuclear reactor, to orchestrating the Entebbe hostage rescue raid and nurturing the country’s booming high-tech sector.

The book, No Room for Small Dreams, came out Tuesday as Israel marked the anniversary of his passing at the age of 93.

Though Peres refrains from delivering personal rebukes of other public figures, he offers a veiled critique from beyond the grave.

“We need a generation that sees leadership as a noble cause, defined not by personal ambition, but by morality — and a call to service,” he wrote in the epilogue.

He said the world needs leaders “who prefer to be controversial for the right reasons, rather than popular for the wrong ones” and who make “the leap from the age of territory to the age of science.”

Most of the book, however, is devoted to the defining chapters and challenges of his life.

Peres speaks reverentially of his grandfather Zvi, the Rabbi of the Polish shtetl of Vishneva, who later perished in the Holocaust. His parting words to the 11-year-old Peres as he left for the Holy Land served as a guiding motif throughout his life: “Promise me you’ll always remain Jewish.”