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President Peres' eulogy for Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha'er

We are an ancient people, united and deeply rooted. Our story is full of tears but the soul maintains the Torah. These three boys exposed the depth of our people and the heights it can reach.

President Shimon Peres delivered the eulogy at the funeral service for Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha'er who were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. The three boys have been laid to rest in Modi'in.

Text of President Peres's eulogy:
Dear Yifrch Family, Frenkel Family and Sha'er Family,
Prime Minister, Ministers, Rabbis, Knesset Members, Officers and soldiers of the IDF, citizens of Israel.
Today we lay to rest Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. Three wonderful boys, a part of the Jewish people. It has been 18 days and 18 nights that I, like all of you, was sick with worry.
We prayed, each of us alone and all of us together, for a miracle. We prayed that that we will seem them return in peace to the families, to their homes and to us all. Sadly we were hit by the tragedy of their murder and a deep grief enveloped our people.
We are an ancient people, united and deeply rooted. Our story is full of tears but the soul maintains the Torah. These three boys exposed the depth of our people and the heights it can reach. A nation with a soul that yearns. A nation which demonstrates resilience like no other. A nation that even in its years of exile, never lost its way.
A nation blessed with mothers like Rachel, Bat Galim and Iris. Dear mothers, your voices united a nation and educated a generation. You, the mothers and fathers, raised children that Israel can be proud of. You inspired in them a love of their people. A love of Torah and a love of the land. You instilled in them devotion and a love of mankind.
Naftali, Gilad, Eyal, Many of us saw only small snapshots of your personalities, of who you were. From those snapshots a beautiful picture developed of confident young boys, sure of their way, in service of their people. Youngsters with radiant faces, who stood tall. With a thirst for knowledge and a knowledge of prayers. Sure of their purpose and fulfilling the commandments. You showed the face of our people with a bright and painful light, our unity and its morality. The victories of Israel, not only the eternity of Israel.
We also saw our soldiers, the IDF, the Shin Bet, the police, the border police and the volunteers, with focus in their eyes. Climbing over rocks with legs that did not slow. A sense of mission in a military uniform. I know that you will find the murderers, and they will be punished. Israel will act with a firm hand until terror is uprooted. To those who celebrate our suffering, I say that terrorism aimed at us, hurts those who dispatch it.
Gilad, Naftali, Eyal. Wonderful boys, sons of the whole nation. Rest in peace. We will bow our heads but our spirit will not break. Dear families, I know your suffering and I also know how you dealt with it, you turned your grief into a source of hope for the whole nation. May you find comfort in in the building of Zion and Jerusalem. May you know no more grief. May their memories be blessed for eternity.

President Peres meets with US National Security Advisor Rice

President Peres: My estimate is that Abu Mazen wants to achieve peace; I don't think he changed on the basic issues, namely the two state solution and opposition to terror. He is someone that we can negotiate with.

President Shimon Peres held a diplomatic working meeting with US National Security Advisor Susan Rice. They discussed the major issues on the agenda today including the diplomatic situation between Israel and the Palestinians, the Iranian negotiations and the strategic relations between Israel and the US.
US National Security Advisor Rice thanked President Peres and said, "I wanted to say thank you for all your friendship to me personally and to President Obama who I know values it enormously and for your support and affection for the United States. We are honored to have the opportunity to be here again."
President Peres began by warmly welcoming his guest and said, "I want to thank you and President Obama for standing steadfastly by our side. I consider him a true friend of our people and our country." Addressing the current state of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the unity agreement President Peres said, ""Everyone agreed there is a need for a pause but that is not a cause to stop. We must find a way to restart the negotiations between us and the Palestinians. My estimate is that Abu Mazen wants to achieve peace; I don't think he changed on the basic issues, namely the two state solution and opposition to terror. He is someone that we can negotiate with. What is necessary is international pressure on Hamas to accept the basic conditions laid down by the Quartet. The world is united on those conditions and I believe that Hamas must be given no choice if they want to be helped, no-one should pay for their missiles and tunnels."
President Peres also addressed the P5+1 negotiations and said, "I believe the sanctions are useful, the leadership in Iran isn't being fully honest but they wouldn't say what they're saying without sanctions. President Obama give a period of time and we are coming to the critical moment when we will discover if they are just offering words or are really serious about change. The world will judge upon actions not words."


Israeli ambassadors and heads of mission convene at MFA

President Peres: "The State of Israel cannot stand on security alone. Israel needs diplomacy as well and it is the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to push forward a peace agreement."
FM Liberman: "Even with all the doubts I have over the true intention of the other side, dialogue between us is important."

President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman officially opened the conference for Israeli ambassadors and heads of mission at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Before speaking to Israel's representatives across the world President Peres surveyed the MFA Situation Room which was opened during his tenure as Foreign Minister and laid a wreath at the memorial wall for MFA employees who fell in the service of their country.

Foreign Minister Liberman, in the name of the Foreign Ministry, awarded President Peres with a special gift in acknowledgement of his diplomatic service on behalf of the State of Israel, and said: "We are at opposite poles, but both want the same thing. Even with all the doubts I have over the true intention of the other side, dialogue between us is important,” Liberman said.

Foreign Minister Liberman, addressing the conference attendees, emphasized seven major issues on Israel's diplomatic agenda today:
• relations with the U.S.;
• new areas of focus for Israel's foreign relations, with an emphasis on Africa;
• the Iranian threat;
• the Palestinian issue;
• relations with our neighbors - from Turkey and Iraq, to Libya and Sudan;
• relations with the BRICS emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa; and
• relations with the European Union, particularly France and Germany.
President Peres addressed the negotiations with the Palestinians and said, "Since the creation of the State of Israel we have always faced more threats than opportunities, today for the first time the tables have turned and the opportunities are more tangible and promising than the dangers.

This is the first time Israel is getting offers to upgrade the relationship with the European Union and the Arab League, who for the first time is willing to recognize Israel and understands that Israel is not the enemy. Don't be confused, an economic boycott can be as damaging to Israel as the security threats.

I was here when the state was founded, Ben Gurion faced fateful decisions which had great dangers and only small chances for success. Today Israel has great opportunities. The State of Israel cannot stand on security alone, Israel needs diplomacy as well and it is the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to push forward a peace agreement."

President Peres also addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and said, "I am concerned by Iran's development of long range missiles. We must monitor the development of missiles in Iran and include that in an agreement – it requires cooperation between the US and Russia. It is hard to monitor uranium but much easier to monitor the means of delivery. Iran continues to supply arms to terrorist organizations and serves as a world center of terror."


French President Hollande on state visit to Israel

President Peres: "France stands at the forefront in its steadfast opposition to Iran's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons and its development of long range missiles. We appreciate France's strong stance, under your leadership.
Vive l'amitié entre la France et Israël."

French President Francois Hollande arrived in Israel together with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, for a state visit along with a delegation of senior French government ministers (17-19 November 2013).

PM Netanyahu to Cabinet: "Today we will welcome French President Francois Hollande and ministers of his government, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. They come as friends and will be welcomed as friends. This visit would be important at any time both for bilateral relations but also, of course, in light of the talks being held in Geneva on the Iranian nuclear issue."

President Hollande was welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport in an official state welcome ceremony by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior public officials during which President Peres thanked President Hollande for France's historic support and friendship of Israel.

President Shimon Peres then hosted a welcome ceremony at the President's Residence for French President Hollande on the red carpet along with schoolchildren from the Marc Chagall School who will welcome him with songs and deliver welcome greetings in Hebrew, Arabic and French. After the welcome ceremony the two presidents proceeded to the garden of the President's Residence where they planted a tree as a sign of the strength of the cooperation between the two countries.

President Peres and President Hollande were then joined by senior government ministers for a diplomatic working meeting. During the meeting the two presidents and the delegations discussed the latest developments in the efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons including the talks in Geneva as well as the progress in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. At the conclusion of the meeting the two presidents delivered joint statements to the press.

In the evening, President Hollande met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men held a joint press conference and signed bilateral cooperation agreements.

On Monday morning, President Hollande will visit the Church of St. Anne in the Old City of Jerusalem, from which he will proceed to the Palestinian Authority. In the afternoon, he will address a special session of the Knesset plenum, to be followed by a state dinner at President Peres' Jerusalem residence attended by senior members of the French and Israeli governments, Prime Minister Netanyahu and 140 honored guests representing the strength and depth of French-Israeli relations.

On Tuesday morning, President Hollande will lay a stone on the graves of the victims of the March 2012 terrorist attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse. From there, he will tour an exhibition on Israeli technological innovation.

During the visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu and French President Hollande will sign a joint statement that expresses the continued growth of bilateral relations, the determination to continue and deepen cooperation in many areas of strategic importance, and the strengthening of economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The French President is a close friend of the State of Israel and I look forward to hosting him and his partner in Israel, especially at this time when the major powers, including France, are discussing ways to halt the Iranian military nuclear program. I am also pleased to host his team and French government ministers, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is taking an active and important part in the current talks by the major powers. Together we will work to advance and deepen bilateral strategic and economic relations."


President Peres called upon the European Union to maintain the pressure on Iran and to acquiesce to Secretary Kerry's request not to implement the new guidelines which would hamper the peace negotiations

Israel, President Shimon Peres delivered a speech before the Dutch Parliament and afterwards held a closed-door question and answer session with MPs. In his speech President Peres laid out a vision for a Middle East based on science and a modern economy and addressed the major issues of the day. President Peres called upon the European Union to maintain the pressure on Iran and to acquiesce to Secretary Kerry's request not to implement the new guidelines which would hamper the peace negotiations.

Madam Speaker of the Senate, Madam Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege to address your great Parliament. Which is a bastion of freedom and a model of human rights, at home and abroad. Your democracy is not just a right to be equal, but an equal right to be different. In the Netherlands, freedom and equality are indivisible.
The founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, wrote in his journal: "I see suddenly a city rising from the plain, without mountain, river, or sea. This is The Hague. Evidence that will-power can make cities rise.
The Netherlands is an example of what people can achieve from the most arid of lands.” And David Ben Gurion, the founder of Israel, wrote later on: "The Dutch Delta Works are the greatest human endeavor of our time."
Distinguished Delegates,
The real question in the Middle East today is how to divorce from the old age and embrace the new one. Poverty, hunger, thirst, scepticism are remnants of the long-gone era. Only a science-based economy is capable of escaping poverty.
“Respect the old and sanctify the new”, advised wisely our late Chief Rabbi Kook. It enabled Israel to overcome poverty. I believe that our neighbours can do likewise.
Of the three dangers that threaten the Middle East - war, terror, hunger - poverty looms today over the others. Poverty claimed more victims today than the swords of yesterday.
Historically, wars were caused mainly by territorial disputes. Today science is more important than land. Armies cannot conquer science. So war has lost its reason.
Today terrorism is made of small groups. They tear to pieces their own lands. Terror lacks a common policy. Terrorists are divided among themselves and fight one another. They replaced policies with violence.
They divided the Palestinian people. They devastated Lebanon. They shattered Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya. They move like a dark cloud over the skies of more people.
Traditional foreign aid cannot meet the growing scope of poverty today. The population of the Middle East grew five times, in the last fifty years. The donors, some of them facing the economic crisis, cannot meet the growing demands.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The fate of the Middle East depends today upon its entering the age of science. So to overcome the catastrophes of the past that brought the shortage of food and the lack of freedom. Israel is a typical Middle Eastern land. Mostly deserts and constant drought. Science enabled us to improve the land and overcome the droughts. It can be done by all others.
While events make headlines, developments make history. The current events in the Middle East make pessimism a headline. But the parallel developments offer hope.
Among these developments, I would refer to at least three of them.
Firstly, among the 350 million inhabitants of the Middle East, on hundred million already have access to the internet.
Secondly, over 60% of the population are below the age of 26. It is them who raised the call for an Arab Spring. They were right but unfortunately disorganised. Yet they remain the majority. It is estimated that in the next year the number of connected people in the Middle East will double. The digital age may serve as their organizer. The elder people are no longer a majority. Furthermore, they do not propose an alternative solution. To be digital or not, makes all the difference.
Thirdly, the protests in the streets brought an end to some dictators. To the others, the future is not promising. The end of dictatorship raises the chances of democracy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A responsible coalition of the peace-seeking countries was formed to prevent Iran from attaining its dangerous nuclear ambitions.
President Obama has engaged the United States as well as the European Union, among others, to impose sanctions upon Iran, in order to stop it from building nuclear weapons. The coalition preferred, rightly, to start with diplomacy while the military option remains.
The end of the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as the end of Iran being a centre of terror is the right way to keep the world free and secure. The sanctions led so far to the new tone of Iran.
President Rouhani's address to the United Nations must stand the test of real implementation. Today it is just a declaration, in a rhetoric competition.
Furthermore, the realities of today in Iran are in stark contradiction to his address. The construction of a nuclear bomb is a fact not a phrase. The building of long range missiles capable, of carrying nuclear warheads continues. It is a danger to the entire world. Nobody on earth threatens Iran's existence.
Meanwhile Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Spreading terror remains a menace to the entire world.

Historically the Jewish people knew friendship with Iran. The Iranian threat began when Khomeini took power. It is up to his successors to bring an end to it.
President Rouhani wants the sanctions to be reduced right away so to ease the Iranian economic crisis. Actually, Iran herself can improve her economy by ending the waste of money spent on building military nuclear reactors and military nuclear long-range missiles.
The Syrian agreement to dismantle their chemical arsenal was done only after Syria was threatened militarily. Humanity has no right to forget the lost lives of thousands of Syrians – innocent civilians, young children – were murdered on their own land, at the hand of their own leader. It is time for Assad to understand that the world has moral boundaries, not just geographical borders. He crossed all of them.
History has ups and downs. The Jewish people experienced the heights of friendship and, alas, the abyss of the Holocaust. Many of us found in the Netherlands a shelter and a home.
Anne Frank describes the darkness of the Shoah:
"I see the eight of us in the Annex, as if we were a patch of blue sky, surrounded by menacing black clouds. We are surrounded by darkness and danger, in our desperate search for a way out."
Six million of our brothers and sisters – among them a million and a half who were younger than Anne – were murdered by the Nazis in cold blood, by gas, rifles, starvation, on European soil. Of the 140.000 Jewish people who lived in the Netherlands, 100.000 were murdered by the Nazi industry of death.
Local collaborators aided them. Others stood aside. Yet 5 thousand Dutch heroes endangered their lives and the lives of their families to save Jews. Their courage saved Jewish lives and kept the honor of the Netherlands. We shall never forget them. The Shoah is both a burning reminder in our hearts and a warning to humanity for the future.
While never forgetting the past, we have to look to the future. To the new Netherlands. To the new Europe. They are a real departure from the past. The united Europe divorced a thousand years of blind hostility. It has invited rays of togetherness and friendship. Borders are no longer dams. Bridges of science replaced them and opened the ports to the new age.
A global age which does not allow racism. The Netherlands of today is a land of light. Darkness has gone. The Netherlands became a builder of the new Europe. The new Netherlands has become a moving friend of Israel. Thank you.
The Netherlands, like Israel, sees its destiny in a biblical touch. What we call in Hebrews for Tikkun Olam, which means bettering the world. Values outweigh expediencies.
Our relations are close and friendly. The economic cooperation is constantly increasing. Cultural exchanges brought books and art. Scientific collaboration offered a great potential for the two of us.

The Dutch contribution to the peace process in the Middle East is valuable and meaningful. Yesterday, today and may I say tomorrow as well.
The new age reached new heights. The sky is no longer the limit. The past became archaeological. The present is dwindling. The future offers promise.
Our young generation resides already in the world of tomorrow. They are constructing a world of their own. They are right to do so. There is no better match than young people and new age.
Israel rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust. It had to overcome the hardship of war. And made a barren desert flourish.
Israel is rich in holiness but poor in natural resources. We were blessed with a rich history but cursed with meagre geography.
At the time our dreams seemed surreal and absurd. Nobody believed that Israel would become a reality. Yet the present reality exceeds the past dreams. Maybe we should have had the courage to dream greater. When I think about we were mistaken by the size of our dreams, we should always have the courage to dream great and high.
The potential of science with the devotion of the pioneers converted smallness into greatness, compensating for past shortages with new resources.
We created a democratic society. Free. Pluralistic. Varied.
Today our great dream is peace with our neighbours. Nothing is more important and urgent. Extending our hands in peace to the entire region.
In the 65 years of Israel , we went through seven wars. No other country has the same experience. We were outmanned, we were outgunned. We lost some of our best children and we miss them.
But never in Israel did a day of war postpone a day of freedom. Never did a war weaken our search for peace. Had we been unable to fend off wars, we would have ceased to exist. We had to either win and live or lose and disappear. But would we give up our search for peace, we would betray our moral heritage which is so dear in our hearts and minds.
In spite of hostility, we made peace with two of our important neighbours – Egypt and Jordan. Once we made peace we gave them back all the land, all the water, all the assets. We kept nothing for ourselves.
Those peace agreements withstood the storms of our vicinity to this very day. Now we renewed the negotiations of peace with our Palestinian neighbours, with the help of Secretary Kerry, with the support of the United Europe and the United States.
I believe it is possible. I believe it is realistic. I believe it should be done as soon as possible.
All of us agree, Arabs and Israelis and the whole world, that the two state solution is the right one– a Jewish state, Israel and an Arab state, Palestine – living side by side in peace, respect and security.
The European Union, and the Netherlands in particular, were and remain very supportive, playing a meaningful role in making peace a reality.
Spinoza described peace beautifully: "Peace is not mere absence of war, but is a virtue that springs from a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”
Dear Friends,
Secretary Kerry asked the European Union to suspend the recent new guidelines, so as to free the negotiations from an added burden.
When peace will be completed, and it may happen quite soon, those guidelines will anyway become unnecessary. I believe that the answer of Europe to the request of the Secretary will be positive to make the negotiations flow uninterrupted. I believe it will be unnecessary in a short while.
There is no need for interim solutions. We shall make peace, there is no need for half measures. To cross a chasm, it is safer to do it in one brave step. Two steps is dangerous.
From Jerusalem, I carry the prayers of our people for the well-being of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
I witnessed His Majesty’s devotion to peace when he presided over the trilateral committee of Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians to make water flow peacefully and efficiently. I happened to represent Israel so I watched with admiration the way he ran the committee and the results are still evident today.
King Willem-Alexander is the youngest king in Europe. As we know, the future belongs to the youngsters. My age permits me to declare t with authority.
Israel and the Netherlands are on a journey through a meadow of tulips. Moving together to our promised lands, and make our lands a real promise. On the horizon still hangs the great vision of Isaiah for a world free of wars and the great vision of another prophet Amos for a just society for all.
Our record provides us with a licence to keep on dreaming because yesterday's dreams gave birth to today's miracles. You are a miracle by making land from water and we follow you as a miracle by making land from desert, what was considered impossible became a reality. Our age is facing dangers and difficulties but it also has a clear call for hope.
I do believe that hope will win.
Thank you very much.


President Peres meets with the president and judges of the ICJ: " The Iranian nuclear threat is not just an Israeli problem but for the whole world which doesn't want to be threatened by one country."

President Peres: “The only way to test Iran's intentions is by deeds and not just words. "

President Shimon Peres visited the International Court of Justice in The Hague and held a rare meeting with the judges of the court including President Peter Tomka. President Peres began the meeting by stressing the importance which Israel attaches to international law, Israel's constant struggle against terrorism and the countries which finance it and the importance the ICJ has in solving disputes between states. President Peres said, in the clearest way possible regarding Israel's fight against terror, that "IDF soldiers hold morality and justice as their highest values – the IDF is committed to defense and peace while securing human rights and maintaining international law."
President Peres updated the judges about the status of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and said: "The negotiations with the Palestinians opened not long ago and we hope that they will bear fruit for the two sides who want to live side by side in peace and security. Completing the negotiations is of the utmost importance – it is perhaps the last and most significant conflict between us and the Arab world."
President Peres discussed with the judges the difficulties faced by Israel's citizens who live under the threat of terror and his personal experience of dealing with terrorism as Prime Minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: "Peace exacts a heavy price but it remains the desire of the people of Israel. I stood with the citizens of Israel in the streets after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin – as an Israeli I was under a tremendous wave of brutal terror attacks during which buses exploded in the streets and children were murdered in shopping centers. In the years which followed, after the painful and difficult disengagement from the Gaza Strip during which Israel removed families from their homes, rockets were fired at innocent civilians. Mothers and children slept for long periods of time in bomb shelters." The President added that "Israel underwent seven wars but we never stopped our search for peace with our neighbors. Never did a day of war postpone a day of democracy. Never did wars justify injustice."
ICJ President Tomka told President Peres: "We are honored by your presence. Peace can be based on justice and solid legal foundations, whenever we solve disputes between sovereign states we always emphasize that the most efficient way is through negotiations. We wish your people peace and justice in a safe and secure environment with peace with your neighbors"
In the press conference which followed the meeting, President Peres addressed the speech by the President of Iran at the United Nations and said: "Rouhani's speech was nice but it was based on a false reality as Iranian centrifuges, at this very moment, continue to work and produce enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, the program to develop long range missiles which can carry nuclear warheads is being expanded and the Revolutionary Guards continue to support terror organizations. We listen to the speeches at the United Nations, but the only way to test Iran's intentions is by deeds and not just words. The Iranian nuclear threat is not just an Israeli problem but for the whole world which doesn't want to be threatened by one country."


President Peres sends condolences to Kenya

There is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians and Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with the Kenyan government and people at this difficult time. We in Israel know the pain of terror and will do whatever we can to support the people of Kenya.
President Shimon Peres conveyed a letter of condolence to the Persident of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. He wrote:

"I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the people of Kenya on the horrific terror attack in Nairobi. From the Holy Land we pray for the release of the hostages, the full recovery of the injured and comfort for the families of the victims.

Terrorism is a global threat and those who perpetrate it make no distinction between yount and old, men and women. There is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians and Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with the Kenyan government and people at this difficult time. We in Israel know the pain of terror and will do whatever we can to support the people of Kenya."


President Peres’ greetings for the New Year

​Greetings from the President of the State of Israel to the Jewish Communities in the Diaspora on the occasion of Rosh Hashana 5774, September 2013

Dear Friends,
I am happy to extend my warmest good wishes to the Jewish Communities around the world, in my name and on behalf of the people of Israel at large, for the New Year – a new beginning – which I pray will bring peace, stability, economic growth and opportunities leading to great achievements.
At the onset of Rosh Hashana, and as an omen of optimism for the year to come, Israelis and Palestinians have returned to the negotiating table with full force. At this time of hope for the future, we pray that these efforts will yield the long-awaited results we have all been yearning for, allowing us to enjoy the fruits of peace with hope in our hearts for a brighter future for us all.
In the Middle East the dust has yet to settle on the dramatic changes that have swept across our region. We hope that from this period of instability will emerge the chance for the countries around us to find the freedom and prosperity for which they aspire, and that a promising dawn will rise over this part of the world. In these turbulent times, Israel remains an island of stability in a sea of uncertainty and will continue to stand strong in the face of adversity – whether it be terror, Iran's nuclear ambitions, or missile attacks on our citizens. Our prayers for a calm sea go hand in hand with the unyielding shield which we hold around our island.
Israel has not been resting on its laurels and has continued to advance to new frontiers in science, technology and medicine, drawing on our exceptional human resources to spearhead these efforts. It has carved for itself an ever stronger foothold in these domains through exciting innovative and creative breakthroughs used to finding solutions for such issues as water and food scarcity that will constitute a huge relief to communities suffering from drought and other environmental issues, alongside cutting-edge techniques in brain research that will change our lives, and significant discoveries in space and the ocean’s bed that will shed light on so many of the mysteries of the world, among many others.
While many challenges still lie ahead, we are confident of our strength and are ever more determined of our purpose as a contributing nation. The bond which has linked the Jewish communities abroad with Israel and the adage of being responsible for one another remind us that we are not alone on this mission. In this aspiration, the engagement of the young generation is essential, and we hope that each and every youngster will join us on this journey towards a better tomorrow. Together, we shall continue to strive for a better world – Tikkun Olam – and for an Israel in which moral values are fundamental to our way of life.
From Jerusalem, I wish all the Jewish communities the world over a year of peace, joy, good health and prosperity.
Shana Tova U’Metuka!
Shimon Peres

President Peres addresses the situation in Syria

“The situation in Syria is not a local incident but a crime against humanity and a breach of international law. The whole world was witness to the horrific pictures of Syrian children who lay dead on the floor.”

President Shimon Peres addressed the tensions with Syria at the beginning of his visit to the Jerusalem headquarters of the Israel Police and said, “The situation in Syria is not a local incident but a crime against humanity and a breach of international law. As such the responsible world is coming together to respond. Syria has crossed a moral boundary. The whole world was witness to the horrific pictures of Syrian children who lay dead on the floor. President Obama spoke on behalf of the whole of humanity when he said this breach of international law; this mass murder could not go without an appropriate response.
We must understand that the response is global, not local. We are seeing a serious coalition coming together, both militarily and diplomatically. Israel was not, and is not, involved in the Syrian fighting but if anyone tries to harm us we will respond with all our might.
Israel has a strong army, modern and powerful and a more advanced defense system than ever before which protects our land, our skies and our citizens. The reports aimed at Israel are an attempt to create panic but Israel is too experienced to fall for false propaganda. We must remain united, respect the decisions of the government and act upon the instructions of the Home Front Command. We should all have faith in the IDF.”


President Peres welcomes FC Barcelona to Israel on 2013 Peace Tour

President Shimon Peres hosted a welcoming reception for FC Barcelona, who are visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a special peace tour.

President Shimon Peres, at his Jerusalem Residence, hosted a welcoming reception for FC Barcelona who are visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a special peace tour. The reception was also attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Shai Piron and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.
President Peres said:
"It’s a great pleasure for me to host F.C. Barcelona at the President’s Residence in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Thank you Mr. Sandro Rosell for accepting our invitation to come and bring this wonderful group of players. On behalf of all of our people - Welcome to Israel! Your visit to the Holy Land is a dream come true for Israeli and Palestinian children.
It is a contribution to peace, as you have rightly called it, a 'Peace Tour.' You came just on time. Our Prime Minister and his government began a 'tour of peace' between us and the Palestinians, which is an important and timely decision.
I want to thank Barca for making the dreams of the children come true. Israeli and Palestinian children dream of two goals – scoring the winning goal at Camp Nou and the great goal of peace.
I would like to send our best wishes to your beloved coach Tito Vilanova. In Jerusalem we shall pray for his full and speedy recovery.
Barca is 'more than just a club.' Over the years you achieved the highest level of football. But more than that, Barca became a message of solidarity, of friendship, of caring for the weak. You became messengers of peace. You are loved by millions. And you offer your love to them, thank you.
Sport and football in particular breaks down barriers, fights racism and creates a horizon of hope for all children in the entire world. On the football field what matters is ability, teamwork and dedication. It is not the color of your feet but the speed and wisdom of their moves. In football there are no victims and always hope for the next match.
At our football academies Israeli and Palestinian children play together. Passing the ball from player to player overcomes any conflict. The children continue to train together even in times of tension.
I would like to add that we pray for the success of the current peace talks between us and the Palestinians, their success is crucial for our future. Your visit here is an added contribution to that prayer of peace through the language of football.
Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, you and the whole team can teach us and the Palestinians to play Tiki-Taka so we can score the goal we all hope for – the goal of peace.
Ole Barcelona!"

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke immediately after President Peres, and said: "Here is my great hope: My hope is to see good football games, to have peace and security and to have one percent of your fan base, they have 300 billion, 1 percent visit this great site and this great country. That would help our economy and it would help peace as well."
The President of FC Barcelona said in his remarks that “We have come to this land to strengthen our bonds of friendship and help you, both Israelis and Palestinians, to find meeting points to help you along the road to peace. We are doing this with all the humility in the world, but in the knowledge that Barça is one of things that both communities have in common, for as they have told us, we are the most popular foreign team in both Israel and Palestine. This makes us feel very proud, but at the same time legitimizes our cause and encourages us to help you towards this goal.
This is a historic moment for us, and could not have come at a better time, coinciding as it does with the reopening of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in Washington. We know that the road to peace through dialogue is a long one and that it will be full of obstacles, but it is a worthwhile objective. Your future is also the world’s future, and that is why we all want this road to lead you to success."
Also as part of the reception President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Minister for Culture and Sport and the Minister of Education signed a pledge called "The other is me" about tolerance and acceptance of difference, which was presented by Minister of Education Piron.

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