Geographic distance has not prevented President Shimon Peres, who on
Thursday wound up a state visit to Canada, from keeping his finger on the pulse
of political development at home.
Peres was apprised of the deal between
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz before the news
was made public to the nation. Netanyahu called Peres in Canada and received his
enthusiastic blessing. Peres congratulated him and said that a national unity
government was good for the people of Israel in light of the crucial challenges
now facing the state.
At a mass meeting with the Jewish community of
Toronto on Wednesday night, Peres in a live interview with political commentator
David Frum said that Israel stands firm in the face of two central challenges –
the attainment of peace with the Palestinians and preventing the continuation of
the Iranian nuclear project.
In response to a question on Iran, Peres
said that so long as the United States continues to lead the international
coalition on sanctions against Iran, Israel would not monopolize the issue, but
would be a loyal coalition partner. While not discounting the possibility of a
military option, Peres made it clear that Israel would prefer that other
sanctions be effective. "All options still remain on the table," he
Relating to a question of political upheavals in the Middle East,
Peres said that today it is very uncomfortable to be a dictator in the Middle
East. There was a time when it was a paying proposition, but this is no longer
the case, especially since social media has enabled the younger generation to
see what is going on in the world beyond and to then ask itself why it has to be
subjected to a cycle of poverty, hunger and unemployment.
advice he had for Israel's newly expanded national unity government, Peres said
that with such a broad based coalition, the government would be judged on its
ability to advance the peace process with the Palestinians and on formulating
the correct policy with regard to Iran.