In 1951, a 28-year-old Israeli wearing screeching white socks arrived in Canada with the impossible goal of buying $2 million in artillery equipment and finding the money to pay for it. A few days later when he departed, he had done both, and he had a brand new pair of socks.

    Everything that Shimon Peres and his country have done ever since has been impossible: making the desert bloom, turning salt water sweet, building a world leading economy from scratch and defending the homeland against countless attacks from all around.

    For almost 70 years, Peres’ story has been Israel’s, as finance minister, foreign minister, president and founder. When former Minister Baird and I met with then President Peres a few years ago, he was still faithful to his vision: a nation as old as the ten commandments and as new as nanotechnology.

    He leaves a nation that is both and so much more. May he rest in peace.