Elder statesman of Israel’s parliament, Shimon Peres, 83, falsified the biographical information on his official Knesset Web page to imply military service that he never performed, journalist David Bedein has claimed in the Philadelphia Bulletin.
Peres, branded as a perennial loser (having never won a major election) and now pulling out all the stops to mount a last-gasp campaign for president, describes his military record as follows:
“Military Service Haganah; IDF; Temporary Head of Naval Services, 1950”
But, Bedein claims, citing his biographer and official records, Peres never served in the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, nor was he the “temporary head of Naval Services” in 1950.
In Peres’ biography on his official Ministry of Foreign Affairs page, the facts are presented differently: “In Israel’s War of Independence (1947-48), Peres was responsible for arms purchases and recruitment, and in 1948 was appointed head of the naval services.”
Bedein reports that Peres was ridiculed early in his career for not having served in any military capacity in the war of independence for the nascent Jewish state. The official Israel Ministry of Defense Lexicon of Israeli Defense, published in 1976 when Peres was minister of Defense, identifies Peres as only holding a desk job at the new Israel Ministry of Defense, “responsible for naval matters,” appointed to that position in 1949.
Peres’ office, asked for a response on the misrepresentation of Peres on the official site of the Israeli Knesset, declined to comment.
His official biographer, Dr. Michael Bar Zohar, however, confirmed that Peres never served in the IDF, Bedein reported.
Yet, in an interview with the “Academy of Achievement” after pushing (some say buying) his way into a Nobel Prize originally to be shared by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, Peres said: ” I joined the army as a private. I was offered a rank at that time, but I refused. I preferred to remain a private. First of all, I wasn’t taken by ranks, and before I knew it, they put me in the most sensitive positions anyway. I thought if I should be a colonel or a general, there would always be somebody above me, but if I should be a soldier, nobody will command me. I shall be totally independent, and that’s what happened. I was a private, but sitting in the heart of the Haganah, later in the army.”
Then PM David Ben-Gurion, Peres claimed, had bigger things in mind for him: “Later on, there were some problems with our navy, so he made me the head of the navy — all things that I hardly knew anything about. I was basically an ignorant young man.” The interviewer is taken aback: “When we look at your biography, you are suddenly the head of the Navy, and there is no information preceding that about a naval career.” Peres answers: “No, no, nothing whatsoever. It was like a fire brigade.”
After this stream of apparent misrepresentations, Peres may again find himself trying to put out some fires.
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