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March 12, 2012 1:42 pm

Jewish Google Founder Wows Peres with Virtual Tour of His Roots

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Shimon Peres. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Israeli President Shimon Peres wrapped up a three-day tour of Silicon Valley on March 8 with a visit to Google headquarters. Google founder Sergey Brin personally hosted Peres.

At the start of his visit, Brin surprised the president with a virtual trip back to his childhood stomping grounds in Eastern Europe, using a three-dimensional Google Earth display. The virtual visit—spread over five giant screens—began in Wiszniewo, Poland (now Visnieva, Belarus), the city where Peres was born. Greatly moved, Peres asked his host to glide over to Valozhyn, the town where his parents were born. Peres then pointed out the location where his family’s house had been, as well as where their synagogue had stood.

Brin then upped the ante and took the president on a virtual trip to the moon, where they viewed a virtual model of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, and then sped off to Mars.

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