Sonya and Shimon Peres
Photo: Nati Hernik, GPO
The building on Oppenheimer Street, Tel Aviv
Photo: Mati Elmaliach
Will the northern Tel Aviv apartment of President Shimon Peres and his late wife Sonya be offered for sale soon? The family members have decided to renovate the modest apartment for now and will consider putting it on sale later on, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
The family's lawyer asked appraisers to evaluate the apartment. According to the Levi Yitzhak Appraisal Agency, the apartment will be worth about NIS 4 million (about $1.1 million) after the renovation. One of the reasons for high price is the flat's historical value, being the president's private residence.
In the past three years, Sonya Peres lived in the apartment on her own. According to estimates, Shimon Peres is not interested in returning to the flat in the future following his wife's death. According to his associates, the decision will be made within a few months by the children as well in accordance with the order of probate.
When her husband was appointed president, Sonya Peres decided to stay in their Tel Aviv home, away from media spotlight. In rare interview four years ago, she recounted her days in British army. President described Sonya as 'love of my life' in recent interview
The apartment is located on Oppenheimer Street in the Neve Avivim neighborhood. It's on the third floor, has four rooms and measures 120 square meters (1,290 square feet) in size. The building includes an elevator and parking and is located opposite a small shopping center.
'Apartment soulless without Sonya'
Life in the apartment in the past gave a feeling of pure homeliness. On Friday nights, Peres was not allowed to hold any meetings, as he had to enjoy the Shabbat meal with his family and Sonya's delicacies. She would serve and he would wash the dishes. Occasionally, they would invite a very important person – the American secretary of state or other world leader.
The neighbors say they never felt a president was living there, and then felt as if a family member had been taken away from them. "The apartment without Sonya has no soul," one of them says.
The Peres' life in Tel Aviv began in 1952, seven years after the couple was married, when they moved to their first apartment on Immanuel Haromi Street and then to the army quarters on Hashalom Road, in an apartment bought by Shimon Peres' father.
The father said later on, "My son Gershon is a construction contractor, and my son Shimon is a government worker. He doesn't know anything about money, so I always through I had to help him. But he does have a wonderful wife, Sonya."
The couple later moved to Arlozorov Street, above Café Angel (today Café Henrietta). Neighbors said Sonya felt sorry for one of the neighbors and used to help her with house payments. The area became too noisy, and the family moved to the northern apartment when Peres was already a government minister.
The flat was never renovated. Sonya Peres, unlike the wives of many Israeli leaders, was known to be a simple and modest woman.
The President's Residence refused to comment on the report, noting that "we respect the family's right to privacy."
Lital Dobrovitzky contributed to this report
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