Google hosted President Shimon Peres at its headquarters several hours before he
concluded his visit to California’s Silicon Valley on Wednesday.
co-founder Sergey Brin took Peres on a special tour of the company’s
headquarters. At the start of the tour, Brin arranged a surprise for the
president – a virtual journey back to his childhood in Poland via five giant
screens, starting with his birthplace, Vishneva, now in Belarus.
the images, Peres requested to “surf” to the city where his parents were born,
Volozhin, and to see their family house and synagogue. Later, Brin took
Peres on a virtual trip to the moon, where they viewed a model of spacecraft
Apollo 11, and from there they made a stop in Mars.
At the president’s
request, they then traveled to Israel, where Peres showed Brin Kibbutz Alumot,
which he helped establish a youth, as well as the President’s Residence, the
Western Wall and other important sites.
The two then held a working
meeting in which Brin told Peres about a series of technological developments
within Google. The pair discussed the global economy and the Israeli economy,
and the president expressed his wish for Google to expand its research and
development centers in Israel.
“Israel is a pioneer in research and
development in Google,” Brin told Peres, “and we have a great appreciation for
Brin introduced Peres to dozens of Israeli employees
working at the firm.
Peres thanked his host and said, “In Israel we have
learned to aim for tomorrow, and the state’s secret to success lies in the
country’s brightest minds, in creativity, and the unique Israeli daring and
The visit concluded Peres’s three-day trip to Silicon Valley,
which began with a meeting with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Peres praised
the social network and modern Internet-based technology for reversing the role
of the ruler and the ruled.
Today, due to technology “people rule
governments more than the other way around,” Peres told Facebook chief operating
officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Peres invited both Zuckerberg and Brin to Israel
as his personal guests. Each has previously visited the country and participated
in the president’s Facing Tomorrow Conference.
The next conference in the
Facing Tomorrow series is scheduled for June 19-21. It is uncertain whether
Zuckerberg or Brin will attend this year’s conference, but it will have a
session on The New Media Making Tomorrow.
Greer Fay Cashman and Michael
Omer-Man contributed to this report.