President Shimon Peres celebrated his 89th birthday on Thursday in the southern town of Yeruham together with students and young people who prepared a festive cake for the birthday boy.

Peres blew out the candles, saying, “My wish is the same as ever: that there be peace for the children of Israel.”

“You made my birthday, I could not be any more excited. My biggest wish — a glimpse into the future — is what I got today,” he added. “Everything that happened in the past is nothing compared to the future. I hope the young people of today will see a better world”.

Peres noted that he was full of awe and appreciation for Yeruham, a town that for many years was economically depressed and in recent years has been undergoing a significant change of fortunes with the nearby construction of a huge complex of military training bases.

“For me to celebrate with you today and see first-hand the success stories of the town is the most wonderful birthday present I could wish for,” Peres said.