Hectic area visit awaits Peres — 4 lectures in 4 nights

Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres will barely have time to sleep when he visits the Bay Area next week. Arriving on Monday and staying for four nights, Peres will spend each night speaking in a different lecture series. During the days, he will meet with local Jewish leaders and business executives.

"He's going to be very busy, but he's a very busy type of man," said Daniel Shek, the S.F.-based consul general of Israel. "He used to complain if he wasn't having a meeting every second of the day."

Shek worked under Peres in Israel's Foreign Ministry. It was as foreign minister in 1993 that Peres helped negotiate the Oslo accords, for which Peres, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994.

Over the past 40 years, Peres has served in the Knesset and held numerous key posts, helping to shape the Jewish state.

Peres became head of the Labor Party in 1977 and lost two campaigns for prime minister to Likud's Menachem Begin. Following indecisive election results in 1984, he served for 25 months as prime minister in a coalition government, splitting a 50-month term with Likud's Yitzhak Shamir.

After Rabin's assassination in 1995, Peres took over as prime minister again. In 1996, he was narrowly defeated by Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peres currently serves as Israel's minister of regional cooperation.

He will speak at 8 p.m. at the following locations: San Francisco's Nob Hill Masonic Center on Tuesday; San Mateo Performing Arts Center on Wednesday; Marin Veteran's Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael on Thursday; and De Anza College's Flint Center in Cupertino next Friday.

The only engagement with remaining tickets is in San Francisco. As of last week, approximately 2,600 of the tickets for 3,000-seat Masonic Center had been sold.

In order to get into the Peres event, however, one must buy an $128 package that covers three other events in the San Francisco Speakers Lecture Series. Those other events feature former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo debating former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and National Geographic explorer Sylvia Earle.

Peres will also be addressing an invitation-only breakfast next Friday sponsored by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

The former prime minister also plans to speak with local government and business leaders, especially in the high-tech industry.

"He'll meet with any organizations that may have some interest in some of the areas that he is in charge of as the minister of regional cooperation," said Shek, who is helping to organize Peres' trip.

"His job is to foster economic development and cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel and other Middle East countries. He'll be meeting with a lot of high-tech companies, but also with some public organizations and California state government officials. I'm sure he'll have a very busy schedule."

Peres will speak at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 111 California St., S.F. Tickets for the San Francisco Speakers Lecture Series: $128. Information: (650) 343-8001.

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr was J.’s managing editor and Hardly Strictly Bagels columnist until he retired in 2016 to travel and live abroad. He and his wife have a home base in Mexico, where he continues his dalliance with Jewish journalism.