This morning, our friends at Amazon are debuting a new series of Q&As with prominent world leaders, inaugurated by a conversation between Tablet Magazine’s literary editor David Samuels and Israeli President Shimon Peres.
It’s a fascinating read. Having celebrated his 90th birthday this year, Peres repeatedly insists that he does not believe in history; rather than waste his time thinking about the past, he argues, he’d like to contemplate social media, neuroscience, and the other technological innovations of the moment. But one cannot live for so long, and witness so many historical moments—the establishment of the State of Israel, seven wars, and one struggling quest for peace—without absorbing something. In between pronouncements about Facebook’s role in promoting Israeli-Arab coexistence, then, Peres intimately recalls David Ben Gurion, Charles de Gaulle, Yasser Arafat, Vladimir Putin and the other world leaders, past and present, with whom he’d collaborated, sparred, or both.
Most importantly, at every turn, even when talking about Syria or Egypt or Iran, Peres remains a staunch optimist. You may not agree with his reasoning, but if you need an uplifting dose of grandfatherly wisdom this weekend, look no further.