The day was sunny, clear and warm in Jerusalem, Israel.
The flowers offered a colorful ‘Welcome to the Knesset.”
The streets outside were unusually quiet.
But inside was a different story.
With Israeli flags flying, there were three puffs of white clouds
over the Israeli Knesset building and
Reuven Rivlin was elected Israel’s 10th president.
RJS was with outgoing President Shimon Peres
before his trip to Rome to see the Pope.
Peres hosted basketball player Pau Gasol at Beit Hanasi,
the official Israeli President’s residence.
The seven-foot tall Gasol plays for the LA Lakers,
but also was on the Spanish Olympic team
and presented Peres with this team shirt.
Gasol signed the shirt as requested.
Though looking serious in this photo,
Shimon Peres made a few age and height jokes.
Then posed for an official photo
with a mixed Arab-Jewish teen basketball team.
One thing for sure,
Peres’ staff had schedules which ran like clockwork.
Diplomats were leaving as the basketball players arrived,
and when we left another event was being set up.
RJS first close-up photo of Shimon Peres was on October 2009,
greeting the public at a Sukkah open house.
Peres was in great form at the Israel Museum 50th celebration.
Receiving a photo of himself from the groundbreaking
50 years early had to be special moment.
At a conference in Jerusalem after leaving office,
Peres was talking about the human brain and its function,
and used the word “orgasm” instead of “organism.”
Any other politician would have made headlines,
only Peres could get away with such a slip-up.
Shimon Peres is in the garden of Beit Hanasi,
the Israeli presidential official residence,
the last in row of nine former Presidents of Israel.
No age jokes now.
Updated: September 27, 2016
after family called to hospital.