July 16, 2007

Israeli becomes president of Poland

Woops, that was a transposition error. I meant to say Pole becomes president of Israel. Yes, apparently, following the resignation of sex offender Moshe Katzav, this Polish chap, Shimon Peres, has become president of Israel. I think it's because he came second in the original contest. This isn't very newsworthy, the post is largely symbolic except for the granting of pardons. What got me was this gushing report from the Times of India.
Elder statesman Shimon Peres was sworn in as Israel's ninth president on Sunday, crowning the Nobel peace laureate's six-decade-long political career.

The 83-year-old Peres, a former prime minister, was elected by parliament a month ago to the highly prestigious post, which though largely ceremonial, has proven to carry a lot of weight in Israeli politics. Peres replaces Moshe Katzav, who resigned from the presidency last month after admitting — in a plea bargain for a dropped rape charge — to committing sex crimes against a woman employee and sexually harassing another.

As head of state, Peres will have the critical job of granting pardons or commuting sentences for prisoners in Israeli jails, including dozens of Palestinian inmates Israel has pledged to release in a boost to president Mahmoud Abbas.

Peres won a Nobel Prize along with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for a 1993 interim peace deal, Israel's first with the Palestinians that led to the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Born in Poland, Peres immigrated before Israel achieved statehood and rose through the ranks of the leftist Labour party as an ally of the country's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
It's only a short article so they couldn't find room for Qana or the Lavon affair.

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