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Peres: Freedom, peace the foundations of US-Israel ties
By STEVE LINDE,GREER FAY CASHMAN
04/04/2014
President addresses bilateral relations between the two nations in special video message for Jerusalem Post Annual Conference.
 
Israel and the United States share a special relationship based on the principles of freedom and peace and they should work together against any war in the region, President Shimon Peres said on Thursday. The president recorded a special message for The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday.

“I know that you are going to discuss the relations between the United States and Israel,” he said. “There is a special relationship, because the United States became great by giving, not by taking.

The United States, in 237 years, gave more than she took. America was always a superpower but never an empire, so it didn’t have to give back land.

“Whatever they won, whatever they got, they gave back to others. And that’s a great lesson, because it’s wiser to make friends than to invest in the maintenance of hostility and enemies.”

Peres attributed Washington’s constant friendship and support for Israel to America’s being a Bible-oriented society since the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.

While he avoided reference to the crisis in US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians or the upheaval in other countries in the region, including Syria, Peres called for a halt to all violence.

“When I look at it, unfortunately, I don’t find any war that wound up with victory,” he said. “All wars left after them destruction and victims. And this call for a better world means freedom and peace, and this is the real foundation of the relations between the United States and the State of Israel.”

Appearing alert and on top form, Peres – who, at 90, is the world’s oldest leader in office – also saluted The Jerusalem Post for its integrity, which he said is the lasting legacy of its founding editor, Gershon Agron, whom he knew personally.

Noting that the Post will celebrate its 82nd anniversary in December, Peres said it is among the most important institutions established before the creation of the State of Israel, together with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He praised it for its contribution to reporting the current state of affairs and helping Israel become a flourishing democracy.

“It has the same taste that brought Israel to what she is,” he said. “Twenty years before the establishment of Israel, The Jerusalem Post was the post of Israel, guarding its name, trying to be informative, being fair, supporting peace, supporting responsible journalism and trying to give the real picture of a complicated situation.”

Peres, who returned this week from a trip to Austria, will leave on a state visit to China on Monday and is due to return in time for Passover. Peres is traveling to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will host a reception for him at the presidential palace.

Peres said he regards China as a modern economic miracle, with which Israel has also developed a special relationship.

“We are equal in age, but different in size,” Peres told the Post. But both peoples have been blessed with miracles, as the president observed with regard to the coming Passover festival: “Millions of people in China emerged from poverty and we emerged from slavery, Peres said.”

According to sources within the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese government places high value on the visit, knowing that Peres is a genuine friend of China. While in China, Peres will meet with top-ranking members of the Chinese administration as well as with heads of China’s leading companies.

China wants to foster closer relations with Israeli hi-tech companies.

At his meetings with Xi, Peres will emphasize the dangers that a nuclear Iran poses to the world.

Peres will be the first Israeli leader to open his own page on WEIBO, the Chinese answer to Facebook. WEIBO receives an average of 2.8 billion posts per month.

Peres’s full message will be broadcast from the Post’s New York conference, which starts on Sunday, April 6, at 9 a.m. EDT and can be seen on JPost. com.
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