peres with medal 224. 88.
(photo credit: Ayelet Frish / Beit Hanassi)
"This is our first gold medal," delighted Israeli President Shimon Peres exclaimed after China's Minister for Sport Liu Peng presented him with an ancient gold coin from China during a visit to Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem on Monday.
Conversing with the aid of an interpreter, the two politicians heaped flattering comments on each other and on the achievements of each other's countries.
Peres was invited to next summer's Beijing Olympic Games by Liu. He said he had heard that relations between China and Israel's Olympic Committee were excellent, and was hopeful that Israeli athletes competing in the Olympics would come home with at least one gold medal.
Liu said Israel was doing well, having won a gold and a bronze in the last Olympics. He also expressed appreciation for the support China had received from Israel in its bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games, adding that this was continuing in the form of frequent visits to China by members of the Israel Olympic Committee.
Peres, who has a special affinity for China, has visited the country five times. But Alex Giladi, who is a member of both the International Olympic Committee and the Israel Olympic Committee, has already been there 47 times, and is likely to pay several more visits before the games get underway.
Giladi and other leading figures from the Israel Olympic Committee accompanied Liu and his large delegation.