Signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians would give Israel more time focus on building a better future for its children, President Shimon Peres told foreign diplomats who gathered at his official residence in Jerusalem on Thursday to mark the Jewish state’s 64th Independence Day.
Peres said achieving peace would not be easy, as both sides must be convinced that it would be worth the price. However, he added, the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sees them, are very small.
The president said Israel must continue to initiate steps that promote peace.
During the reception, the president also addressed the so-called Arab Spring. He said he hoped regional changes would be accompanied by the least amount of bloodshed possible.
As for the ongoing violence in Syria, Peres told the diplomats that Israel views massacres carried out anywhere in the world as unacceptable.
The seven Israeli academics to be awarded Mifal HaPayis’ Landau Prize for Science and Research for 2011 have been named
The winner for research in liberal arts and classics is Dr. Aharon Shabtai of Tel Aviv University.
The prize for research in religious studies has been awarded to Prof. Steven Kaplan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while Prof. Amatzia Genin of the Hebrew University has won the prize for research in the field of ecology.
The prize for research in the field of biology and evolution has been conferred on Prof. Eviatar Nevo from the University of Haifa, and the Technion’s Prof. David Hasson has won the life sciences-desalination prize.
Prof. Gil Navon of Tel Aviv University is the winner of the prize for research in life sciences-magnetic imaging, and Prof. Chaim Gans of Tel Aviv University and the Shalom Hartman Institute has been awarded the prize for political science and international relations.
The Landau Prizes are scheduled to be conferred at a ceremony in May, and each of the winners will receive NIS 50,000.
Mifal HaPayis will also be handing out prizes for the arts to the following artists: Amir Benayun (Israeli music); Ronit Elkabetz (film acting); David Gurfinkel (cinematography); Doron Salomon (singing); Eli Degibri (jazz); Shosh Reisman (composing for theater.)
Dudi Goldman contributed to this report.
Israel is celebrating 64 years of independence and its greatest ally has not forgotten to send congratulations.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published a statement on Thursday in which she said that “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States…For many around the world, Israel remains a beacon of hope and an inspiring example,” she wrote.
Clinton stressed that “Israel and the United States are united by a deep and unbreakable bond based on mutual interests and respect. Our relationship grows stronger every day as we work to promote regional security, create new economic partnerships, increase two-way trade and broaden our energy cooperation.”
She also reiterated President Obama’s statements and noted that: “We are steadfast in our commitment to Israel’s security, which is a cornerstone of our foreign policy in the Middle East.”
Clinton also noted that on the backdrop of the revolutions and changes in the Middle East “know that the United States stands with you to embrace new opportunities and address difficult challenges.
“And we will continue to work with you and your neighbors to achieve the shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East. Congratulations and best wishes for peace and prosperity in the years to come,” Clinton stated.