SHIMON PERES VISITS ORT ARAD
Steadfast and Ispirational
By Patrice Perez
"You can continue and build the future." "Your dreams
This morning the President of Israel, Shimon Peres together with Amos Oz visited our high school –
Ort Arad. What an exciting and exhilarating event it was. It was an honour to be present and to be able to listen to two
great minds and hear their experience and to witness their viewpoints.
The frenzied lead up to it at school was, to put it mildly, amusing– cleaning, decorating, organizing,
presenting, - even some of the leaves on some of the plants were rubbed until they shone.
Too much? Maybe, but it shows what an honour it was and
how much everyone appreciated Shimon Peres actually asking to come and speak to our students.
He is 85 years old and looking fragile but his voice is still commanding.
Pulses were racing as he approached the school and students stood ready to speak to him beside each
exhibition in the hope that perhaps he would ask them a question: the security, the cameras, the press, the teachers, the
students all wanting to be as close to him as possible.
He finally entered the auditorium all beautifully decorated in blue and white. The school needn't have worried about students saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The president is an old hand at talking so calmly, quietly and meaningfully that the students were enraptured
and strained not to miss a single word.
Four questions were put to him by four yod bet students and he responded equally seriously to all four. The questions dealt with the development of the Negev, internal security, education,
agriculture, war, neighbouring countries, technology, Tsahal and of course the
importance of our students taking their place in creating the future.
He emphasized all the wonderful development that Israel
can be proud of in so many different spheres, some of which Israel
is leading the world. He gave the students a feeling of satisfaction with what
has been attained so far and a real feeling of realistic hope for continuing into the future and how important they are and
their contribution to their own future and the future of the country. He made
it sound feasible that they can do what they set their minds to.
Amos Oz spoke brilliantly about the power of dreams, inspiration and imagination. He spoke of Shimon Peres as a young teenager with his own dreams – not materialistic dreams of purchasing
goods – but dreams of creating, of changing, of improving, of making a new future.
He emphasized the importance of a person's imagination and how to use it to improve our world how to create using your
imagination. He spoke especially about the importance of imagining what it is
to be in some other person's shoes – your friend's, your brother's, your sister's, an Arab's, a Palestinian's, and to
truly try and understand another person.
Both men gave inspiration to the people listening – teachers, students, people from the army
and people from the municipality including the mayor of Arad, the head of education in Arad, representatives from Ort, and
I think we all came away with a feeling of inspiration for
the future and pride in the achievements of the past.