With just over a month to go before the conclusion of his term, President Shimon Peres has no advice to offer his successor Reuven Rivlin.
In a Q&A session on Sunday at the opening of the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, Peres said “I don’t think he needs any advice. He’s a grown-up person. He does not have to be like me. He has to be like him.”
Explaining that every president brings his own qualities to the role, Peres said of Rivlin “He is blessed with all the necessary qualities to be a president.”
During the evening, Peres’s years of service to the nation were mentioned several times and by more than one person.
When asked whether he had any regrets, Peres said “I never regret.”
“Why should I waste time regretting? There’s always the Opposition. They’ll do the job,” he said.
Moderator David Horovitz, of the Times of Israel, fielded the questions, many of which were of a political nature.
When Peres was asked whether he still thought that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace, Peres replied: “He’s the best partner that Israel ever had.”
Peres has known Abbas personally for 20 years.
“I think he is a man of his word. I think he is a man of courage,” Peres said, citing Abbas’s statements on peace and terror.
He also praised Abbas for showing understanding for Israel’s problems. “He is a great leader and we should not miss the opportunity to make peace with him.”
Asked about Israel’s relations with Latin America, Peres commented that in Latin American countries today, there is a decline of Jews and an increase of Arabs, not all of whom are negatively disposed toward Israel. He stressed the importance of cultivating Arabs in these countries and cited the warm reception he had received in Brazil from an Arab in a high powered political position.
As to whether the Jews of France should make aliya in view of the rising anti-Semitism in that country, Peres said that aliya is always the best solution.
However, he made the point that Israel should become more attractive.
Because today people are not only escaping from oppression and repression, but are looking for a better place in which to live.
While Peres will most likely be speaking to the media – some of whose members will be Jewish – during his visit to the United States this week, the Jewish Media Summit was his last opportunity as president to address a mass gathering of Jewish journalists, who came from many countries – the overwhelming majority (other than those living in Israel) coming from the United States.
Even among the Israelis, many were immigrants from the US.
Peres reiterated his high regard for US President Barack Obama, but used the opportunity to launch into one of several verbal attacks on terrorism that he made during the evening,.
He was initially evasive on the Jonathan Pollard issue, saying that what he was going to do had already been published.
However, both the questioner and the moderator persevered and eventually Peres said: “I’m going to do whatever I can to bring Jonathan Pollard to Israel!”