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Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis pays tribute to Shimon Peres

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Credit: PA

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has paid tribute to Shimon Peres and described the former president and prime minister as a "true giant amongst men".

"There will be countless tributes to Shimon Peres over the coming days, but I fear that few, if any, will adequately capture the palpable sense of collective grief felt across the world, nor do justice to the memory of a true giant amongst men.

"It is true that Shimon Peres was a great statesman. He was the noblest of soldiers, a born leader, a uniquely talented diplomat, an inspiring speaker and a relentless campaigner.

"But, more significantly than any of those things, Shimon Peres was the greatest living example of an unshakable belief in the pursuit of peace against all odds."

He added: "No matter what the future holds, your legacy lives on in the Jewish people who will never rest until we achieve our eternal dream of peace among the peoples of the world."

Shimon Peres' legacy 'will remain with us all'

Rafi Walden reads a statement on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters

Rafi Walden, Shimon Peres' doctor and son-in-law, has said his legacy "will remain with us all".

Shimon Peres left us without suffering.

Until the day of the stroke, he was fully fit. Ten months ago, he suffered a minor heart attack, treated at the Sheba Medical Centre, and his recovery was astounding.

He returned to full activity at the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, including trips to South Africa, Canada, meeting with the Pope and many others.

During his meetings across the world, we were amazed time and again, including the past years, to see world leaders stand before him like students before the Rabbi, eager to hear his wisdom.

We all believed that so much more still awaited him. That Israel and the world would continue to benefit from his contributions. His life ended abruptly, when he was still working on his great passion: strengthening the country and striving for peace. His legacy will remain with us all.

Thank you.

– Rafi Walden


Barack Obama pays tribute to Shimon Peres

Obama presents the presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres in 2012. Credit: Reuters

US President Barack Obama has paid tribute to Shimon Peres as a man who "was rooted in his own unshakeable moral foundation and unflagging optimism".

Obama said Peres was "guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together".

Noting how he had fought for the nation's independence and served public office for seven decades, President Obama called Peres "the essence of Israel itself".

"A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever".

Death toll rises in Tel Aviv building collapse

The building collapsed in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Credit: APTN

At least four people have died and 20 have been injured after a building collapsed at a construction site in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Rescuers pulled two more bodies from the rubble on Tuesday as the search continues.

Five people were pulled alive from the rubble and efforts are underway to rescue three constructions feared trapped following the incident on Monday.

One of those who died was a 35-year-old man.

A fire official told Channel 10 TV that the incident began with the collapse of a underground parking garage being built at the site. He said that brought down a crane, which then caused part of a building to collapse as well.

Footage of the aftermath showed clouds of dust rising from the scene.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said emergency units were on the scene of the incident in the Ramat Hachayal neighbourhood and urged locals to avoid the area.

Speaking to Channel 10 TV a construction worker identified only as Micha told how he was blown backwards by the blast and lightly injured.

All of a sudden everything collapsed. It was scary. You feel like everything is going to collapse, and you are going with it.

– Micha

Colonel Golan Vach, a commander in the military's Home Front Command - a special search-and-rescue team which is often sent to disaster zones around the world - described the scene as "very complicated" and said rescue efforts could continue for several days.


Judoka sent home from Olympics for refusing handshake

Or Sasson of Israel and Islam El Shehab of Egypt Credit: Reuters

An Egyptian judoka has been sent home from the Rio Olympics after refusing to shake the hand of his Israeli competitor, the International Olympic Committee said.

Islam El Shehaby, who was sent home by his own team, lost the fight on Friday and was reprimanded by the IOC for his actions.

The IOC acknowledged that the rules of judo do not oblige players to shake hands but said El Shehaby's behaviour went against the Games' "rules of fair play" and "spirit of friendship".

El Shehaby, 32, had reportedly been pressured by fans on social media not to show up for the match with his Israeli opponent, who went on to win bronze in the +100kg category, because it would shame Islam.

El Shehaby said: "I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can't ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this State, especially in front of the whole world."

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