The birthday isn’t until August 2, but the celebration is this week. Israeli President Shimon Peres is turning 90 and there’s no shortage of big names heading to Israel to celebrate the world’s oldest head of state.
The Jewish Press reports that the party got started in late May in Peres’ native Belarus, which was, when he was born, a part of Poland. A plaque was installed on the President’s childhood home reading, “In this place, Shimon Peres, son of Yitzhak and Sarah Perski, the Nobel Laureate and 9th President of the State of Israel, was born on August 2, 1923.”
For the festivities, Bill Clinton is being paid $500,000 to speak at an event today at Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, the Daily Mail reports. The Jewish National Fund is fronting the bill, donating the money to Clinton’s charity, The William J. Clinton Foundation.
And what’s a party without a serenade from Barbara Streisand? The Jerusalem Post reports that the singer arrived in Israel on June 15 with her dog in tow. Streisand will sing at the main event on Tuesday night, which will kick off this week’s Israeli Presidential Conference at Hebrew University.
According to Ynet, more than 3,000 guests from around the world will toast the Nobel laureate at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. Streisand will be in good, and famous, company—other guests include Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a video guest appearance from Barack Obama. But if anyone bought Peres an iPad mini, they should probably just return it:
Peres has asked that those invited not bring him gifts. “It is not something celebratory that I grew by a year, but it is a good opportunity to show the world Israel’s accomplishments, and for this I am happy.
For some more about Peres, here’s his recent Washington Post interview.