Peres to participate in Tisha B'Av services in Beijing

Religious Jews who may have been concerned about where the President of Israel might commemorate Tisha B'av can rest easy.

shimon peres 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
shimon peres 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Religiously observant Jews, who may have been concerned about where the President of Israel might commemorate the Tisha B'av destruction of the First and Second Temples when he is in Beijing this week, can rest easy. President Shimon Peres, who will be in the Chinese capital as guest of the Chinese Government for the opening of the 2008 Olympics, will be joined by Chabad Rabbi Shimon Freundlich at a reading of the Book of Lamentations on Saturday night. It was already known that the Chinese, in a desire to enable the president to avoid transgressing the Sabbath, arranged for him to be accommodated in the Olympic Village inside the stadium so that he could easily walk to the opening ceremony on Friday night. Aside from that, there will be no kashrut problems for the president or any other visitors to Beijing who observe the Jewish dietary laws. Dini's Kosher Restaurant which is under Freundlich's certification and across the road from the American Embassy has a complete selection of Jewish, Chinese and Western food which it can serve in its large dining area or send vacuum packed to hotels not only in Beijing but anywhere in China. Peres is due to leave Israel on a regular commercial flight some time after midnight on Wednesday and to arrive in Beijing, where he will given an official welcoming ceremony, on Thursday afternoon. Early on Thursday evening, he will tour the Olympic Village and will meet with members of the Israeli Olympic team. Later in the evening Peres will meet with Chinese business leaders at the residence of Israeli Ambassador Amos Nadai to discuss the further development of joint ventures and bilateral trade and investments. Peres, who is known to be technologically minded, will begin his working day early on Friday morning with a chat on the popular Chinese web site in which he will answer the questions of Chinese surfers. After that he will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People to discuss a number of issues including the strengthening of relations between their two countries and of course the hazard posed to the world by the Iranian nuclear project. Following the meeting, Peres will take time out for an interview with Chinese Television's CCTV News for its Top Talk program. Immediately afterwards, Peres along with other international dignitaries such as US President George W. Bush, French President Nicola Sarkozy and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (who holds a black belt in judo) will participate in a State reception at the Great Hall hosted by Hu Jintao. On Saturday, in deference to the Sabbath, Peres will have a free day until Saturday evening when he will be joined for the Tisha B'Av service by Freundlich, representatives of Jewish communities from around the world, the Israel Ambassador, the heads of Israel's Olympic Committee who will be in Beijing with the official delegation and heads of the Olympic delegation.