President Shimon Peres on Thursday hosted former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and thanked him for his continuous support of Israel and friendship for the Jewish people.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the State of Israel for your support over the years,” Peres said, adding that Sarkozy had “stood by Israel” during his years of public service, “especially [on] the Iranian nuclear threat.”
Regarding the growing tension on the Israeli-Syrian border, Peres said, “There are too many flames in the Middle East; we must lower the flames.” Israel had no interest in war, and wished to see the situation remain calm, he said.
Of recent attempts to revitalize the diplomatic track between Israel and the Palestinians, Peres articulated hope that “the efforts of the United States and Secretary [of State John] Kerry succeed.”
Sarkozy, whose maternal grandfather was Jewish, said the Jewish people, who waited for years to build their own state, were those who could best understand the Palestinians’ wish to have a state of their own.
The former French statesman, who arrived in Israel to receive an honorary doctorate from the Netanya Academic College, thanked Peres for his “warm hospitality” and reiterated his friendship for and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people.
“The doctorate can only be given to you by an academic institution, but the honor is from the whole country,” Peres concluded, before getting Sarkozy to commit to another visit, with his entire family.