In an interview with the JC ahead of his Presidential Conference and 90th birthday celebrations, Shimon Peres said that science and technology are the key the future “identity and existence” of the Jewish state.
While the Israeli President acknowledged that “we have yet to fulfill the dream of peace with all our neighbours”, he emphasised that education and the development of Israel’s human capital was the top priority of the country in the years to come.
Despite the victory of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani in the Iranian election last Friday, Mr Peres said that “all options remain on the table” when it comes to neautralising the threat of the regime.
Mr Peres added that “the immediate victims of Iranian tyranny are the Iranian people. It is their human rights and basic freedoms that are forsaken by the regime which chooses enriched uranium over food for its people.”
The president, who has been meeting strictly Orthodox leaders in recent weeks to hear their concerns over an impending law on a universal draft which includes punishments for those who refuse to sign up, refused to take sides on the issue, recognising the value of the arguments on both sides.
He said: “Democracy is not just free expression but self-expression. It is more than the right to be equal but the equal right to be different. Within that framework however, we must also ensure the national burden is shared in an equitable manner. We are in the midst of a process to find a compromise … That process should be concluded through dialogue and discussion.”