Peres: Iran’s a world threat

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 26, 2008

Israel's president, Shimon Peres, warns today that it must not be left to Israel alone to solve the Iranian issue. "The Iranian threat is not only towards Israel, but the whole world," the president says in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with the Jewish Chronicle to mark Rosh Hashanah.

Due in London in November at the invitation of the British government, President Peres has Iran high on his agenda. He is insistent that, even if Israel were considering military action against Iran, "we should not be talking about it. If we are planning a military option, we certainly shouldn't be saying so, and if we are not, then why should we be giving the Iranians ammunition for their propaganda against Israel?"

But most of all, he says: "Iran is a danger to the whole world, not just Israel... We need to enlist the entire world, which is under threat."

The president also expresses strong views on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora, which has, he says, "become too much about money, not enough about culture and intellectual values.

"The Jewish people was once much more concerned with philosophy and morals; we have to move away from our pockets and back to our minds. There is no contradiction today between the concerns of Jews living in Israel and Jews in America or Europe. Who doesn't want to minimise the dependence on oil that dictates our lives, both for environmental reasons and to lessen the finance for terror? Who doesn't want to fight poverty and make Israel stronger?"

He adds: "We are a small country, we can't turn into a global market, but we can be a laboratory for the world. We can be first in scientific fields such as agriculture, energy, medicine and water. We have to be a contributing nation, finding greatness not in population numbers but in intelligence."


Last updated: 3:50pm, September 25 2008