Montreal Jewish community mourns death of Shimon Peres

The former prime minister and president of Israel is being remembered by Montreal's Jewish community for his seven decades of service to his country.

Israel's consulate in Montreal will offer condolence book to public this Friday

Shimon Peres, right, visited Montreal in 2012. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Israel's consulate in Montreal is marking Shimon Peres's passing with a condolence book after he died Tuesday at age 93 in Tel Aviv.

Twice Israel's prime minister and, later, the ninth president of Israel, Peres is being remembered by Montreal's Jewish community for nearly seven decades of service to his country.

"He was just a great statesman and a pillar in the Jewish community," said Montrealer Issie Karpman.  "He made things better for all the Jewish people in the world."

Over his long career in politics, Peres, one of the key architects of the Oslo Peace Accord, travelled to Montreal in 2012 to thank the city's Jewish community for their support for Israel.

'It's absolutely devastating'

Some Montreal resident say Peres was the grandfather of Israel and that learning of his death was difficult.

"It's absolutely devastating. He's a founder of Israel, and it's one of the pillars, gone," Debbie Vineberg said.

Shimon Peres served as both president and prime minister of Israel. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Peres, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat, had a major stroke two weeks ago.

Officials said that Peres's body would lie in state at the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, on Thursday to allow the public to pay final respects. His funeral is set for Friday at Mount Herzl, the country's national cemetery in Jerusalem. 

Condolence book at Westmount Square

Montrealers who want to pay their respects in person can sign the condolence book at the consulate office in Westmount Square on Friday from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. 

They can also visit next week on Wednesday and Thursday, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Anyone who comes must be prepared to show valid identification.

With files from Kate McKenna