LOS ANGELES – In a deft performance exuding good vibes, President Shimon Peres
wowed a large audience in Los Angeles, a city that knows a thing or two about
celebrities and star turns.
Speaking on Thursday evening to a full house
in the 1,400-seat ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Peres was introduced by
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as a “Prince of Peace” and a
Peres reciprocated during a one-hour interview,
conducted by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, by expressing his “highest regard
for President Obama” and praising the pioneer spirit of the American West and
the dedication of the American Jewish community.
Brown tried to draw
Peres into a discussion of US-Israel differences on policy toward Iran, but Peres
turned aside the attempt, saying, “While everybody is looking for differences,
the basis is common and agreed.”
He urged that sanctions be given a
chance to work, but emphasized that more militant options remained on the
Peres’s arrival in Los Angeles came at the conclusion of a
demanding weeklong trip, which took him from New York City to a meeting with
President Obama in Washington, and joint appearances in California with Silicon
Valley royalty Sergei Brin, cofounder of Google, and Facebook CEO Mark
Showing no sign of fatigue or jet lag, however, the 88-year
old was unflaggingly optimistic in his Thursday evening appearance, frequently
responding to questions with a quip.
For instance, when Brown asked if
the United States and Israel were on the same page, Peres shot back, “We’re on
the same globe.”
Some other Peres observations and avuncular advice: The
People of the Book are becoming the people of the Facebook.
Jewish contribution to civilization is our dissatisfaction. We’re never
satisfied [with the status quo] and a good Jewish mother asks her schoolboy son,
“Did you ask any good questions today?” Israel’s and the Palestinians’ older
generations must not impose their pasts on the younger generations.
the next decade, the most exciting scientific advances will be in exploring the
Israel’s greatest domestic challenge is to bridge the
country’s social gap through education.
“If you want to be great, serve a
Winding up his whirlwind American trip, Peres on Friday
visited the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale and spoke to its staff
about the connection between Hollywood and education.
He was to be feted
at a Hollywood reception on Saturday night and on Sunday morning will meet with
Latino and Jewish community leaders to discuss their mutual
Among the participants will be Latino actors Eva Longoria,
Andy Garcia and Edward James Olmos, as well as Israeli-American mogul Haim
Saban, chairman of the Spanish-language media company Univision
Peres is scheduled to return to Israel on Sunday.