Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:49
In the framework of his state visit to Greece, the President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres had a meeting with the Greek Jewish leadership, which was held in Athens, on Tuesday August 7, 2012. President Peres was accompanied by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Orit Noked and the Ambassador of Israel to Greece Arye Mekel. 

Opening the event the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece David Saltiel welcomed Shimon Peres with a short address. Afterwards President Peres answered to questions made by the representatives of the Greek Jewish Communities and Organizations.
During the two hour meeting the President of Israel answered questions covering a wide range of subjects.  Mr Shimon Peres captivated his audience with his combination of wisdom,  experience and profound political judgement.  

He spoke about the present situation in the Middle East and the prospects of peace. He stressed that all sides are equally in need of peace and that people, especially the younger generation, are gradually becoming aware of this fact. He likened Israel to an island in the ocean and said that it takes a lot of effort and delicate handling to keep the waters of the ocean calm.
In answer to a question on the topic, the Israeli President explained his position regarding threats to the Peace Agreement between Israel and Egypt in the wake of the recent bloody clashes. Mr Peres said that Egypt’s main problem was not Israel, but the poverty that is spreading through Egyptian society: ‘Let us not lose sight of the fact that the revolution in Egypt was not against Israel, but against corruption and poverty,’ he said and emphasized that it is in the interests of the Egyptian people to support the Peace Agreement with Israel. When asked to make a wish for the future of Israel, Mr Peres said that he hopes, ‘Israel will grow old like the Ten Commandments while remaining as young as the Internet.’ 
Mr Peres spoke about the meetings he had had in Greece and the importance of developing relations between the two countries, co-operation in energy and high technology, as well as agriculture.
In answer to a question asked by the Youth representative, the Israeli President said he was convinced that young people would find the road that leads to progress. Mr Peres demonstrated his faith in the ‘alternative’ view with which young people see things, urging the old to accept changes. He ended by saying that young people are called upon to face many challenges and huge opposition, but their natural thirst for new discoveries, in conjunction with their knowledge and education, ensures the construction of a stable future. ‘The wealth of every country lies in its educated people: arm yourselves with education and invest in research,’ said Mr Peres.

The President of the Jewish Community of Athens, Mr Benjamin Albalas made the closing remarks and then spoke to thank Mr Peres and conveyed the admiration and respect that the Jewish Community has for his great work. The meeting ended with the giving and receiving of commemorative gifts.