Israel’s President Shimon Peres – after a moving tribute to his lifelong dedication to Israel – took the stage.
“Thank you President Obama, for being a friend of Israel,” Peres said in his opening remarks. “We fought six wars” and “we have not lost one, and we never will,” he said. “We can not afford to.”
Israel’s economy, particularly its recent growth in the technology sector, is a source of great pride for Peres and the state of Israel. Peres’ grandfather, who was killed in the burning of a synagogue, is his moral compass, the Israeli President said.
“To be just, to do justice, to never deny justice to others, dear friends, the pursuit of peace for us is not a passing opportunity, it is a moral imperative, it is a tenant of our nation’s security,” Peres said.
Calling Bashar al-Assad a “tyrant”, Peres said he “admires the courage of the Syrian people”, wishing them “peace” from the bottom of his heart. Reaching out to the young generation in the Arab world is an imperative, according the Israeli President.
“The Palestinians are our neighbors for life, peace can and will be achieved with them,” Peres said.
Bill Clinton,George W. Bush, and Barack Obama were and are all supportive of a two state solution, according to Peres and PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants peace, but Hamas does not.
“A peace that is a dream for both of us, is a nightmare” to Iran, he said. They are a “morally corrupt regime”, and the “center and sponsor of world terror”. “Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East so it can control part of the world economy, it must be stopped and will be stopped,” Peres said.
President Obama has made it clear that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, Peres said. ”The United States and Israel share the same goal for preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Following Peres’s speech, President Obama announced that he will award the Israeli President with the Presidential Medal of Honor later this year.
“I believe the next decade will be the most scientific in human history”, Peres said.
“America is and will remain the indispensable leader of the free world,” Peres said. “Today more than ever, the world needs America,” he said.
“Mr. President, I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound,” Peres said. “Under your leadership, security cooperation between the U.S.A. and Israel has reached its highest level. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make America great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people,” said the Israeli President.
“Thank you really, all of you, from the depths of my heart. God Bless America, God Bless Israel, Shalom to you,” Peres finished with.
It drew a standing ovation from the crowd.