I’m the one who videoed the entire Q&A session that President Shimon Peres gave us bloggers at the Israel Presidents Conference today.
Below is the whole uncut video, but below that are quotes from the topics discussed. (I’ll try and update when I splice it by topic.)
I was a bit disappointed the questions all seemed kind of obvious. Why didn’t anyone ask him what his funniest moment in Knesset was?
Here’s a quick review of the topics he was asked about:
- Iran: “The real problem is… not that we don’t like the Iranians. The problem is the Iranian menace to the world. If they wouldn’t do it, I don’t think anyone would say a word against Iran.”
- Lack of women in hi tech and government: “Men have to learn a little bit… I want to tell you, if you don’t mind, every woman is born like a mother. And every man passes away like a baby; he never matures. So better have a mother in management than a father in management… Every woman is a civilization in her own right.”
- What would you ask from God?
- Rocket-fire from Gaza: “What do they want? To run Gaza, or to run terror? We don’t want to see Gazan people suffer. The only ones who can make them suffer are the ones throwing rockets against us.”
- Change in the government system: “The basic change of the system is not government, it’s the electoral system.”
- Receiving the civilian honor by President Obama: “I felt that the real recipient of the prize was the Israeli people… I think this was a salute to Israel for showing that democracy can withstand shortages, difficulties, and walls, and never have a day of war postpone a day of freedom.”
- On America: “As a student of history I think what is unique about America, is that it’s the only power in history that got its strengths not by taking, but by giving. American history is a history of generosity, and not a history of occupation.”
- Future of Jewish people: “The Hebrew language is very impatient… what we have is two times: past and future. Everything either happened, or will happen. There’s nothing on the waiting list.”
- Two-state solution; is time running out?: “You need patience in life… There are things that take time, setbacks, don’t lose your life. There is no better solution… than to have two states living in peace.”
- Jonathan Pollard: “One thing I have authority… to forgive… I’m not above the courts. My consideration is not what’s written in books of law… but what is written in book of your heart. There are cases which are heartbreaking… so my consideration are purely humane.”
- Syria’s inability to revolutionize: “A man that kills his own babies… is one of the most shocking things I’ve experienced in my life… is to see a small coffin and there is a baby who was killed, brutally… how can you stand it? But there is a dilemma on how to handle it…”
- Birthday wishlist: “That all other people will have happy birthdays.”
Best of all, I got to shake his (88-year-old papery) hands and tell him what an inspiration he was. Don’t change, man. Don’t change.
Other Tomorrow 2012 coverage:
- #tomorrow12: Ayaan Hirsi-Ali speaks about the true Arab Muslim revolution.
- #tomorrow12: Shimon Peres project for Israeli-Arab integration into hi tech.
- #tomorrow12: Prof. Kahneman talks decision-making and coaching leadership.
- #tomorrow12: Dr. Ruth on the Future of Sex.