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No. 115 / 2017

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Power Benefits

Eric Schmidt and Shimon Peres
Eric Schmidt and Shimon Peres
Mika Almog taking selfie with Eric Schmidt
Mika Almog taking selfie with Eric Schmidt
Mika Almog and grandpa Peres
Mika Almog and grandpa Peres
Israel’s Ex-President
Ogling A Google Gig? 

ORMER Israeli President Shimon Peres was seated next to Google chairman Eric Schmidt. There they were, at an Anti-Defamation League dinner, September 2014 at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, where national chairman Abraham Foxman (since retired) celebrated their outstanding achievements.

Peres, who singularly guided the startup nation to become one of the world’s most technically inventive incubators—second only to Silicon Valley—was brainstorming with software engineer Schmidt. No surprise, seeing how Peres, long an advocate of nanotechnology, had set up a foundation to explore the human brain.

Now, after an eight-year term as president of Israel, Peres is looking for his next job. At 91 he’s  still sharp as a tack.

His granddaughter, screenwriter/actress Mika Almog, introduced a light-hearted video she produced showing Peres in quest of new opportunities. At the unemployment bureau, he’s asked about his experience.

“I was an excellent cow milker.”
It’s all automatic milking today, says the stern-looking woman inspecting his job application.

“I was a shepherd—never lost a sheep.”
The woman frowned. Everyone’s vegan now.

“I was minister of postal services, both incoming and outgoing.”
The woman grows painfully impatient. Everything’s email today.

“I built RAFAEL.”
That expensive restaurant in Tel Aviv?
“No, RAFAEL, advanced defense systems for…” 
So, you have no experience.

Dejected, Peres tries his hand at various jobs that don’t require experience, such as pizza delivery and service station attendant, and bombs every time.

As a supermarket cashier, he announces the day’s special, which turns out to be the story of Special Operation Entebbe.

As a security guard he asks, “Are you armed? Sniper? Ballistic missile?” The answer is no each time, and he responds, “Excellent. The intellect is our finest weapon.” 

As a nightclub standup, he opens with, “You know how you build a textile factory in the Negev and everyone thinks it’s something else?” 


“Anyone here from Dimona?”

Sullen faces stare back at him.

He taps the microphone. “Is this on?”

The fearless nonagenarian finally finds his calling as a skydiving coach. Skydiving?

“This is the man who taught me how to swim,” Mika his granddaughter explained. “I thought I’d return the favor and teach him how to fly.”

At the ADL awards dinner Peres spoke about the miracle of a people who, despite antisemitism and persecution through the ages and attempts by current Arab armies to destroy it, has survived.

“Out of communism was born the mighty Soviet Union, the great communist party. Out of Judaism was born a tiny little movement. But look what happened to communism and look what happened to Zionism.  They started big, and lost.  We started small, and won.”

The reason we won, he added, was because we have two armies: a moral army led by ADL with Abe Foxman as the commander, and a real army with soldiers, who just went through a very demanding, very difficult war against terror” [the Gaza campaign to destroy the terror tunnels).

The greatest victory, he said, will be peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

In presenting Schmidt with an ADL International Leadership Award, Foxman pointed out that on a recent visit to Israel Schmidt described it as a “tech miracle” in which Google has important partnerships and intends to expand its investments.

“Eric may be the largest individual investor in Israeli tech,” Foxman declared.

Schmidt said that pursuing hate, which is ADL’s mandate, has been made easier with the invention of the Internet.

“The Internet is the best thing ever invented to combat prejudice,” he said.

“The enemy of prejudice is critical thinking. Hate thrives in isolation but now that we are all connected it will never be possible for someone to spew out falsehoods at the level that have built the kind of hatred that ADL has been fighting for 100 years. People will detect it and fix it with shame and education.”

For the first time, Schmidt said, we can see everything. “We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that ‘Never Again’ is true universally for everyone. If you’re prejudiced, we’re going to find out. We’re going to know. Fabrications, these lies, which are ridiculous, but ultimately hurtful and bad, can be revealed. We can identify these hate mongers.”


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