The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, met with a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations this morning (February 11, 2013) at his residence in Jerusalem. President Peres welcomed the delegation and said, "It's a pleasure to see you here in Jerusalem at such a meaningful time. We are now trying to build a government and decide on the new agenda, and of course anticipating the visit of President Obama. There is no more important link than our relations with the United States of America, it's essential that we maintain it and keep it bipartisan."
President Peres addressed the upcoming visit of President Obama to Israel and said, "We are expecting the president's visit to Israel, it is an important event for us." On the issue of Iran President Peres said, "President Obama is serious that the United States has to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, not just because of Israel but for the safety and security of our time."
Addressing the changes in the Middle East President Peres said, "The situation around us has become more complicated than ever before. Not because of us, the revolt in Tunisia is nothing to do with Israel. The events in Syria have nothing to do with Israel, even the changes in Egypt have nothing to do with Israel but it all affects Israel. Until now there is a dictator in Syria but we know more or less the lines. If he will disappear no-one knows what will happen, it will be an uncertain situation." President Peres continued and said, "The real problems in the Middle East are starvation, unemployment and lack of dignity. We have to defend our island under those circumstances and to see if we can be of any help to calm the sea. We are interested in seeing the Arab world in a better situation, finding answers to poverty and discrimination."
President Peres discussed possibilities for progress in peace talks and said, "We must really try to make peace wherever we can and immediately, I believe we can move forward with the Palestinians because none of us would like to be victims of the terror organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, or Iran. Each of us would like to live in peace."
President Peres also addressed the ongoing coalition negotiations in Israel and said, "I held consultations with the representatives of all the parties and the candidates themselves spoke about three main issues; the danger of Iran, the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and equality internally. I hope that a government can be formed as quickly as possible."
The former chairperson of the Conference of Presidents, Mort Zuckerman, greeted President Peres on behalf of the delegation and said, "This conference has been coming to Israel for 39 years and he has been here in one capacity or another for all those years. Shimon Peres is a wonderful symbol for all we think of when we think of Israel and the Jewish people."
Communicated by The President of Israel's Spokesperson.
Photo Credit: Mark Neyman/GPO