Wednesday, October 21, 2009

President Peres addresses opening of Israeli Presidential Conference

We have gathered again to discuss the tomorrow. We have gathered with the strongest faith in mankind’s ability to determine its destiny and build a better future for its children. We have gathered to discuss the complicated challenges which will determine our future. The journey is not easy, but the horizon radiates with incredible opportunity.

The obstacles we face in the future require strong efforts, locally and globally. Viruses, infections, and climate change do not respect borders. There exists a need for global efforts to rehabilitate those most injured by the recent economic crisis; to overcome ecological deterioration; to defeat poverty, hunger, terrorism; to conquer the danger presented by totalitarian countries, like Iran, that threatens to acquire nuclear weapons.

Global and local efforts will ensure that we deal with these threats to our individual and collective security. Yet these efforts demand wisdom more than power.

Israel is a small country with few resources. It has defined borders. Yet its brain power has no borders. Its brain power comes from a historic legacy. Our intellectual strength originates from the Ten Commandments, which Moses brought from Mount Sinai, to guide our conscience. Yet it continues today, through Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which opened infinite scientific opportunities to us and the rest of the world.
Our limited population and size prevent us from becoming a global leader in manufacturing. But our scientific potential grants us the opportunity to be a global leader in science.

History teaches us that to live with wisdom, means to with moral awareness. We refuse to let the difficulties we have faced lead us towards pessimism. We build upon our intellectual tradition and scientific talent, to form a positive state. A state of ‘Yes’; a state that says yes to peace, yes to justice, yes to freedom. A state that says yes to improving the world we live in.

We need to defend our lives. But we also have to relentlessly offer our hand with courage peace. And even if we have to endure the cost, and also if others will benefit, ‘yes’ to peace is a value that stands by itself. Therefore, Israel says ‘yes’ to the peace process.

Israel said ‘yes’ to the Barak Obama’s initiative to immediately renew negotiations to form two countries for two peoples; and meanwhile to bring a comprehensive regional peace, in order to extinguish the fires of hatred.

Israel said ‘yes’ to the economic development of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel said ‘yes’ to the increasing ability of the Palestinian Authority to maintain law and order, without the need to threaten Israel.

Israel says ‘yes’ to peace with our neighbors. And rejects the terror that violates our human rights, most importantly, our right to life. Terror threatens freedom. Terror threatens peace. Thus for good reasons many countries, with the United States leading the way, have decided to fight it.

This fight has a terrible price. Countries that have not experienced car bombings or had missiles shot at their citizens, cannot realize the damage terror causes, the cost it produces, the confusion it generates. To prevent terror is to say ‘yes’ to good relations between neighbors. Terrorism is a crime, and we must end this crime in order to say ‘yes’ to life.


Dear Friends,

I am privileged to have live and have worked in Israel from my earliest days when she fought with all her might for her very existence. We passed nine wars that threatened our livelihood and we won in all of them. Today, Israel is a strong, advanced country that wants to contribute, not just to defend.

Brothers and sisters of the Jewish world, we must preserve our traditional values and be a nation that gives, doesn’t just live.

I presented with optimism what we have achieved. We cannot allow our optimism to turn into languid satisfaction. I am an optimist that has not been satisfied. We meet here to learn, not only to teach, and we are eager to hear your suggestions. Above all, we meet to think together how to meet the challenges of the future, and to shape a better tomorrow for all the children, for all the mothers, and for all mankind.