President Shimon Peres is due to leave Israel on Tuesday on a weeklong visit to
Brussels, Paris and Strasburg aimed at strengthening Jerusalem’s strategic ties
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Israel has increasingly become the target of criticism in
Europe, and Peres hopes to ameliorate this negative attitude through meetings
with European leaders and a historic address to the European Parliament in
However, on Monday, Peres focused on setting an example for
the local community, rather than the international one, by taking a hand in Good
Deeds Day. The president spent the day promoting Shalva, the Jerusalem-based
association for mentally and physically challenged children.
13,000 Jerusalemites participated in 250 community service projects on Monday,
with the municipality honoring Good Deeds Day by dedicating a five-kilometer
extension to the Rail Trail bike path.
Among the leaders whom Peres is
scheduled to meet during his European tour are Belgian Prime Minister Elio de
Rupo, French President Francois Hollande, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevniev,
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of the European
Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Council Herman Van
Rompuy, NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen and OECD secretary-general
Angel Gurria among others.