No Israeli Leader Was More Respected Around the World

Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films Currently in Production on the Definitive Documentary Film on President Peres' Life

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Moriah Films Division expresses itssadness over the death of Shimon Peres, the 9th President of the State of Israel and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Richard Trank, Executive Producer and principal Writer/Director of Moriah Films extend its condolences of behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to the family of President Peres. No Israeli leader was more respected around the world than Shimon Peres, the last of the pioneers who helped found the State of Israel.

In February of 2016, Rabbi  Hier and Richard Trank interviewed Shimon Peres (pictured) for an upcoming documentary on the life of David Ben-Gurion.

The Center, its Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem and Moriah has had a long association with President Peres, having interviewed him for several other film projects. During the course of this particular interview, Rabbi Hier and Trank were asked if they would be interested in producing the definitive documentary film about the life of President Peres. Without hesitation, they answered, “Yes” and immediately went into production on this film. Rabbi Hier and Trank made the decision to postpone the completion of their Ben-Gurion documentary until 2018 so that the film about the then 92-year-old President could be completed by Spring 2017. President Peres was excited about the possibility of attending multiple premieres in Israel and the United States.

From April through late June 2016, Trank conducted more than 50 hours of interviews with the President, covering his entire life. During those interviews when asked if Zionism is no longer relevant, he told Trank that not only is Zionism more relevant today than ever, it continues to be vibrant and to evolve.

In a letter to Rabbi Hier in June 2016, President Peres wrote the following: “The work the Simon Wiesenthal Center carries out is truly commendable. You have made it your moral duty to never forget. You carry the torch for holocaust remembrance and make it a humanitarian responsibility to confront anti-Semitism and spread tolerance, dignity and the importance of human rights. May your initiatives and efforts continue to go from strength to strength. I hope to see you soon again.”

In 2007, Rabbi Hier arranged a meeting for Jeffery Katzenberg and Jerry Seinfeld with the President in Jerusalem during Chanukah. President Peres reflected to Katzenberg, Seinfeld and Rabbi Hier the following, “Gentlemen, not all miracles are in the Bible. You are visiting Israel. The whole country is a miracle! We have no oil, no water, but look at what Israel has accomplished. If this would have happened in the time of the Bible, it would have been included as one of the great miracles.”

“To have had the opportunity to make the definitive documentary film about the last surviving founder of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, has not only been an incredibly rewarding professional experience, it has also had a profound personal impact on us as well,” said Rabbi Hier and Richard Trank. “We intend on bringing his legacy not only to Israelis but to audiences around the world who we believe will be inspired by his message of optimism and peace and his positive vision for the future of Israel and Zionism.”

The Shimon Peres documentary will be completed and is set to premiere in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in May of 2017.