Congress Reacts to Shimon Peres' Death

Former Israeli president celebrated for commitment to peace

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, center, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Shimon Peres, a founding father and former president and prime minister of Israel, died at the age of 93 on Wednesday, after suffering a massive stroke two weeks ago.

Members of Congress offered their condolences to his family and expressed their gratitude for his leadership, highlighting the legacy he left behind.

As a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Peres made countless contributions to the world, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said in a statement Wednesday.

"While we join the state of Israel and people around the globe in mourning his death, we also give thanks for his incredible life," the Wisconsin Republican said.

Sen. Ted Cruz praised Peres in a statement Wednesday as a "great patriot" who "will be missed in both Israel and America."

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and our close ally Israel. May his memory be a blessing," the Texas Republican said.

Other congressional members recognized his efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. 

"President Peres often stated that the concept of leadership is not to rule but to serve," Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said in a statement. "Those words should inspire us to strive toward a better world, and I am certain that future generations will remember him as one of the great peacemakers of our time." 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she valued Peres' friendship and described him as an "intellectual resource who personified the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel."

"President Shimon Peres was a universally respected leader, a courageous visionary, and a true here who leaves a towering legacy in service of justice and peace," the California Democrat said. 

Former President Bill Clinton plans to attend Peres' funeral in Israel.

"The Middle East has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation and for a future where all the children of Abraham build a better tomorrow together," Clinton said in a joint statement with his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

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