Google hosted President Shimon Peres at its headquarters several hours before he concluded his visit to California’s Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

Google 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.

Moved by 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 Israeli developers.”

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 chutzpa.”

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.

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