Shimon Peres has expressed his hope that the New Year will lead to the signing of a historic peace treaty and bring “tranquility, prosperity and security” to the Middle East.
In a Rosh Hashanah message the Israeli president referred to the Washington-sponsored peace talks and said that this year hopes for peace in the region appear “tangible”
Addressing global Jewry, Mr Peres said that more young Jewish people should visit Israel.
He added: “It is imperative that a spirit of brotherhood and a close bond with Israel continue to be a part of the Jewish and Zionist education of Jewish youth.
“When attempts to delegitimise Israel as a Jewish state are relentless, it is essential that we, in Israel, and the Jewish people throughout the world, jointly seek to thwart these efforts.
“We must mobilise our forces to expose the lies and highlight the values of the Jewish people through the ages, based on the Ten Commandments, as well as the moral and ethical values that constitute the foundations of our country and our people.
“It is also vital that we stand alongside the international community in the fight against fanatic leaders, armed with nuclear weapons, and who deny the Holocaust and call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
The Nobel peace prize winner, 87, spoke of his pride in Israel’s achievements, pointing to Professor Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute, who won a Nobel prize for chemistry in 2009.
Mr Peres said: “We must work together in harmony and reach agreements through dialogue.
“Solidarity, brotherhood, tolerance and understanding are the foundations of a strong and secure family.”