Powered by WebAds

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Liveblog - Interview with Shimon Peres

This is a liveblog of a bloggers session with Israel's President Shimon Peres. This bloggers' session has many more reporters standing in the back than was the case in the previous bloggers' session. They come to our events, but we usually aren't invited to theirs. Hmmm.

A blogger started the wave when Peres walks in. I don't do the wave at Fenway Park - I think it's silly....

Israel Maimon introducing Peres.

Peres to make a statement first. Peres says first blogger he met was Professor Rabi who won a Nobel prize. The statement was not much more than that.

Haviva Galatz of HuffPo asks what's the greatest issue that divides Israel and the diaspora. Peres says we need three things: 1. Return to a basic understanding of what Judaism is (the Ten Commandments). 2. A good Jew can never be satisfied with what he has learned, but always has to continue to study. A good Jew cannot be satisfied. 3. Help Israel survive physically, spiritually and militarily.

Adam Scott Bellis - new oleh who writes for JPost asks about the delegitimization campaign. What would he tell advocates for Israel on college campuses if he could tell them one thing. Peres says he would say the same things he said before - Judaism is a journey in a moral avenue. We have to love peace. If we had achieved everything already, there would not be a task to being Jewish. Trying to achieve a moral call is being moral.

15-year old Yarden Brickman asks what he can do to help Israel online (he's the youngest blogger here). Peres answers that his generation thought democracy was free expression and that the younger generation thinks it's self-expression - speak to people who are interested in the same things as him. We're now creating an internet movement for young Arabs and Palestinians to speak to Israelis about peace. He says there's lots of registration for this. Governments don't listen to each other but young people do. Peres would add an 11th commandment to respect your son and daughter.

Next question is a reporter from Le Figaro. He asks about Israel's security and how our fight seems to be going on through the new media and in the ideological world. Is Israel prepared for this fight? Peres says that Israel is so concerned about security because we have been attacked seven times in the last 63 years. In all the fights, we were outnumbered and outgunned. And we are the only country that is being threatened with destruction by other countries. We cannot take that lightly. And there is no other state like us. There's lots of criticism in Europe about Israel and vice versa.

Peres says we are the most popular countries in the world today. For 2,000 years the Catholic church opposed us, but we have never had a better relationship with them than we have today. We never had relations with China - now we do (he ignores the fact that China is supporting Iran). China doesn't know about anti-Semitism and Nazism and Zionism for that matter. There are 1.2 billion Indians with whom we have good relations (at least with the non-Muslims). 60% of US supports us - we are number 2 in sympathy from them. We have friendly audiences in France and Italy and with the Germans. What other country has such support? Democratically there are people who are louder than Le Figaro. We have troubles in UN because of Arabs and Muslims.

Peres asked if he enjoys science fiction. He said that the present is a fiction not the future. He just said that computers were introduced 25 years ago. Oops. IBM PC's were introduced in 1982 (Peres said that 25 years ago, computers took up the whole room - no that would be 40 years ago). He doesn't believe in world government (this is where it went - he's rambling a bit), but you have to have self-government and know your own feelings and thoughts.

Blogger named Shoshana asks about poverty in Israel, which she refers to as the third sector (first two being business and government). How to get other parties to help the poor. Peres talks about national passport and world passport. Meaning of democracy is not just the right to be equal, it's the right to be different. Borders are not important. Identities are.

Oldest blogger (didn't get his name) who is 92-years old asks question about refugees (I wanted to ask about something similar, but the person handing out the microphone signaled to me that he's the last question). Blogger asks whether refugees will become citizens of countries they live in and be able to work when there is a peace settlement. Peres not sure he agrees. He says that the Arab world should escape from poverty. He doesn't think we can help them. He thinks that the only way to escape poverty is by people helping themselves. The West does not have enough money to help all the needy people in the world. The West itself is in a deficit. Historically, the greatest poverty in the world was in China and India. Today they are both much better off. Only the Arabs can help themselves and they should and they are capable. We have to enable them to do so and not pretend that they cannot do it.

Peres told Obama that the greatest opponent of democracy in the Middle East is the wives.

What happened to us can happen to the Arabs. We made the right introduction in concepts and in high tech and everyone can do what we did.

They're allowing one more question.

Ariel Reshef of IBA News asks about the cottage cheese crisis here (sorry - I haven't discussed this). How does Peres plan to deal with this (it's not his job!). Peres says we have to distribute our money in a better way. He says distributing education is more important than money. People with academic degrees earn at least 10% more than those who don't. Would like to see everyone have free academic education. Wants to convert army to university. Army to be both camp and campus. Let everyone get a BA during the army. And then instead of spending money on unemployment, spend it on health, education and culture. Exercise your brain like you exercise your body. You can become fat from eating three times a day, but if you read three times a day you'll become wiser. He talks about Rav Elyashiv who he says has almost no body but a brilliant mind (Rav Elyashiv had heart surgery at the age of 101 - bli ayin hara - on Sunday night).

Now he's talking about "cottage and chips." He says we have highest production of milk per cow in the world but people are paying an unreasonable price. Even when we raise salaries people pay more but have less. We have to change the cost from the cow to the consumer and have to see why consumers are paying more. Rich and poor both pay the same for milk and eggs. This has to be corrected as soon as possible.

My picture will probably be in hundreds of papers around the world tomorrow. I was directly behind the space between Shimon Peres and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales when all the photographers took their picture together.



At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 10 Commandments = Judaism???

This is the President of a Reform Temple, right?

Unreal! Think of the consequences of such ignoramuses of their own heritage in charge of the Jewish Nation's homeland.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Neshama said...

It turns my stomach to see this man put his hands on a woman's hips (shakira).


Post a Comment

<< Home