In his 90s, Shimon Peres Became Social Media Star

Social Media

TEL AVIV—In the course of his eventful life, Shimon Peres wrote 11 books, won a Nobel Prize and served as Israel’s prime minister twice and its president once.

In his 90s, the indefatigable elder statesman added yet another achievement to his resume: social media star.

Mr. Peres, who died Wednesday, three years into his tenth decade, embraced Facebookand Snapchat, using the platforms to pack more punch—and humor—into the causes he championed, especially peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians.

Ever eager to remain relevant, Mr. Peres launched a Snapchat account in August. In a video posted on Facebook, he takes selfies with the teenagers who helped him set up the account.

By then, he was already a Facebook veteran. In a video posted to the platform last year, Mr. Peres encouraged youngsters to take up math and science, hoping he could help reverse the falling number of those graduating in those subjects from Israeli high schools.

In the video, he is seen sitting in a classroom full of teens when the teacher poses a question. The ninety-something Mr. Peres responds playfully to the question by launching a paper airplane across the room.

“Tell your parents to come to school,” the teacher orders Mr. Peres, reprimanding him. Then she examines the paper airplane and there, scrawled on is flimsy wings, is the correct answer to her question.

“Maybe you’ll amount to something!” she exclaims.

In possibly his last appearance on social media earlier this month, Mr. Peres advises Israelis to buy local products and honor the “blue-and-white”—the collors of the Israeli flag. Very much the veteran digital crusader, he urges young people to follow in his footsteps and do a video for Facebook or Snapchat in support of the “Buy Israel” movement.

“Can you imagine a meal without Israeli salad?” he says in the 53-second clip on his Facebook page, which boasts nearly half a million followers. “Can you set the table without Israeli fruits?”

In July, Mr. Peres announced plans to build a museum celebrating Israel’s technological achievements since its establishment in 1948. The Israel Innovation Center, he said, would serve as both an educational center and gallery for visitors.

His announcement was followed on Facebook by a post befitting a man who never stopped campaigning for causes he believed in, using any means available to him.

It also showed that for all his wide-ranging interests, his favorite theme was the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“By using technology to build peace and shared living, there will be a safe space for thousands of Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians to innovate together,” he said.

After stepping down as Israel’s president in 2014 on the cusp of turning 91, Mr. Peres made a video about the next steps in his career. In it, he’s seen in the official office of the president packing up his belongings, including a volume entitled “Presidency For Dummies.”

Then, in quick succession, he works as a gas station attendant, a security guard, a pizza delivery boy, a supermarket cashier and a standup comedian. Finally, he tries his hand as a skydiving instructor and jumps out of a plane in the skies above Israel.

“You are as great as the cause that you serve,” he says in the video’s final quote. “And as young as your dreams.”

[Source:-The Wall Street Journal]