A convoy of mounted police and motorcycles will escort the president-elect today on his way to the Knesset. Hundreds of guests will await him for the festive reception. Present to mark the occasion will be a guard of honor and members of youth movements. The IDF orchestra will play and the shofar will be blown – in short, it will be a grand affair replete with honor.
It's not as though Shimon Peres has never experienced the pomp and ceremony of such honors. Motorcycles and mounted police have already escorted him; orchestras have already played for him; and he has already inspected quite a few guards of honor. There are very few world leaders who have enjoyed the regality he has been showered with. Yet it is doubtful whether the prestige he has enjoyed for so many years worldwide managed to do what one hot afternoon in Jerusalem will.
Because what happened to Peres is reminiscent of the battered child syndrome: No matter how much love he receives, he will always seek it in places where it was never granted. He will look for it among the people who disparaged him, didn't recognize his skills, and betrayed him at times when he expected their support. In other words: He will always seek recognition in places where it was never given or at least not to the appropriate extent.
And Shimon Peres is deserving of it. He deserves this recognition and love and certainly this honor. Because many things may be said of Peres, not all positive, but one thing cannot be said: That he is entering a post that does not befit him.
Perhaps we needed, just like in any other matter, a few failures and painful experiences to finally elect someone who has been in the limelight for so many years, who has been right under our noses. It's no secret that the presidency was never Peres' heart's desire. This option came and went whenever Peres reached a political dead end, or when his surroundings had reason to believe that Peres has reached an age when he too would be glad to rest on his laurels.
Sense of relief
However, the impression was always that at any given moment – even today – if Peres is given an opportunity to bring about change, to advance a political idea, he will grab it with two hands.
But Peres, it seems, is planning to prove that several plans can be also be executed from the stately position of the presidential residence. His 100-day plan, as revealed over the weekend, equals another's 100-year plan. It includes execution and advancement of projects in all areas, including those bordering on diplomatic issues.
Even if the new president executes just a tenth of his plans, he won't have a dull moment at his new residence. And as we have learned, a dull moment at the presidential residency presents an opening for a scandal.
This elderly man, how shall we put it, will create a revolution immediately upon his entering the post: The residency will be managed by three talented and impressive women. Hence, even if his wife Sonia chooses to remain absent, emotional intelligence and feminine intuition will not be lacking.
It would be nice to finally hear of positive women's activities coming out of the presidential residence and particularly to get to know each one by their full name rather than by a single letter.
When we watch the presidential swearing-in ceremony Sunday evening, we shall undoubtedly experience a myriad of mixed feelings: Firstly, consensus that the right man has been elected, that Peres from this evening on will represent the presidential institution and bring us honor both domestically and internationally.
But mostly, it will bring a sense of relief that we are being redeemed of the guilt feelings and the ingratitude and that finally after dozens of years Peres is being rewarded with what he so rightfully deserves.
Because if there is anyone deserving of the title "number one citizen," that citizen is Shimon Peres. With or without the presidential institution.