Shimon Peres 311.
(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres leaves for Spain Monday on a four-day state visit as the
guest of King Juan Carlos.
The visit is timed to celebrate the 25th
anniversary of diplomatic ties with Spain following an almost 500-year
disconnect between Spain and the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Spanish
Diplomatic relations were established on January 17,
When Trinidad Jimenez, Spain’s current foreign minister, visited
Israel at the beginning of this month, she told Peres that Spain was eagerly
awaiting his arrival.
Peres will be accompanied by a 40-member delegation
of top executives from Israel’s major hi-tech and defense companies, among them
Israel Military Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace
Industries and RAD Data Communications.
It is anticipated that the
president’s visit will contribute greatly to the strengthening and expansion of
strategic, political and economic ties between the two countries.
after his arrival, Peres will conduct a briefing with editors of Spain’s leading
electronic and print media outlets.
He has reserved the evening for
Madrid’s Jewish community at the Central Synagogue.
During the course of
his visit Peres, in addition to his meetings with the king, whose titles include
king of Jerusalem, will meet with Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and
opposition leader Mariano Rajoy. He will also address a plenary session of the
Spanish Congress of Deputies, and will open a bilateral business forum that will
be attended by Minister for Industry and Trade Miguel Sebastian.
forum will include 300 representatives of prominent companies from both Spain
At the invitation of and under the auspices of the
prestigious Europa Press news agency, Peres will present a political overview of
the Middle East in general and Israel in particular to some 300 senior Spanish
politicians and opinion- makers who are curious to hear the president’s views on
scenarios that could ensue in the wake of the wave of protest rolling through
Other meetings will be with Spanish intellectuals and with
Peres hopes to persuade some of Spain’s top soccer stars to
come to Israel as guests of the Peres Peace Center, which inter alia promotes
peace through sport, and has Israelis and Palestinians playing on the same
In addition to the usual gifts that are given to heads of state on
such visits, Peres will come away with the key to the city of
Before leaving for Spain, Peres attended the opening on Sunday
evening of the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair at the the capital’s
International Convention Center.