Onetime Shimon Peres speechwriter tells about the time he met the Israeli president and wrote a U.N. General Assembly speech for him on the same night. “’Mi atah?’ he asked me—‘Who are you?’—in that rich baritone I had heard on TV so many times,” recalls Ben Harris in a piece in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
In my meek Hebrew, I stammered that I was the speechwriter, and we spent what felt like an interminable awkward minute sizing up one another. … For the next hour, Peres dictated his speech to me. Though already pushing 80, Peres was an old hand at this stuff, and the florid metaphors flowed effortlessly. I struggled to keep up. When it was over, Peres retired for the night and I spent the wee hours polishing and pruning. Sometime before dawn, I submitted the final text and stumbled back to Brooklyn to bed.