President Shimon Peres toured the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in
Haifa on Wednesday, where he was briefed on research and spoke of education
reforms, and the peace process.
He was told about research in genetic
engineering, nano-satellite clusters and aerospace engineering, new methods of
treating cancerous growths, advances in computer sciences and robotics, and
ultra-filtration membrane treatment of water.
Peres was also shown a
racing car built and designed by the students of the Technion.
than three decades the Society of Automotive Engineering has been organizing
competitions among engineering students for the design and manufacture of a
Formula race car. A Technion group of aerospace and engineering students was
among the more than 250 student teams from around the world who entered last
Ten or 15 years ago, Peres was Israel’s most ardent
advocate for nano-technology.
Today, when nano-technology has become the
norm – and in the field of medicine enables complicated surgeries that were not
previously possible – Peres has turned his attention to brain
Peres is a proponent of every young Israeli going on to
university. In the course of a panel discussion at the Technion with fellow
Nobel Prize laureates Profs. Avram Hershko, Aaron Ciechanover and Dan Shechtman,
Peres, while praising the Wednesday’s reforms introduced by Education Minister
Shai Piron, called for free university education for all undergraduate
The Nobel quartet, three of whose members were awarded the
Nobel Prize for Chemistry, discussed the future of R&D in Israel and the
place of technology in school curricula.
The discussion was moderated by
Yossi Vardi, who spurs hi-tech creativity in Israel, and who has funded numerous
Peres also commented on the peace process and voiced
his strong opposition to the land swaps proposed by Foreign Minister Avigdor
Peres said that the idea was not practical, and that it was
unacceptable to him that the State of Israel should deprive Arab citizens of
their citizenship just because they are Arabs. “We have no right to do such a
thing. Arab citizens are citizens like any other citizen of Israel.”
the next few weeks, Peres continued, it will be decided whether there will be
peace or not.
The most urgent and vital thing for Israel is to conclude a
peace agreement with the Palestinians, he said.
If there is peace with
the Palestinians, he said, it will revolutionize the economy and inspire a
completely changed budget. “It will be the biggest revolution since the
establishment of the state.”
Peres reminded his audience that the state
would not have come into being at all if prime minister David Ben-Gurion had not
been willing to forfeit territory.
“Peace is in our hands, even if it is
not perfect and includes risks. We have to decide what risks to take, but peace
offers us great opportunities,” the president said.
Peres also related to
the rallies by asylum-seekers and said that there is an international convention
to which Israel is a signatory, and Israel must abide by it.