By Bonnie Klap.
For pictures of the event, click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98057281@N02/sets/72157636081979926/
President Shimon Peres of Israel started his three-day visit to The Netherlands at the famous Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam, followed by a visit to the Holland Schouwburg and concluding the official part of his first day with a visit to the 350 year-old Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, where close to 700 guests eagerly awaited his arrival.
The President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient took part in a special program honoring the 65th Anniversary of the State Israel, in which he was interviewed by moderator Esther Voet, Director of CIDI ( Centre of Information and Documentation Israel). President Peres started by reminiscing about the early days of Israel, when, as he remembered, “We had no water, no land, we had just two lakes, one dead, the other dying, we had no natural resources and we faced animosity. In the 65 years we were attacked seven times, outgunned and outnumbered. Again and again, we were put to test, but in spite of it all, we are a people in search of peace. We are also a small people in number, but great in spirit,” according to President Peres, who is convinced that now, a peace agreement can truly be achieved. He believes the solution to peace is a ‘two-state solution’: Israel and Palestine living together as neighbors in peace.
“Our greatest problem is skeptism and doubt, but I am convinced peace can be achieved and I believe that Abu Mazen is also convinced,” President Peres told the audience.
President Peres will also be received by King Willem-Alexander and will meet with Prime Minister Rutte, among many other activities. By all standards, a very busy schedule, especially for a 90 year old man. President Peres has, however, no plans to slow down, although his term ends next year and he will by then be 91 years old.
“For me, to work is the best vacation, or should I say: vocation? We all die the same way, but how you live your life makes a difference, whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. From my experience I would say: Believe in what you think is right and never give up. My advice is: Be an optimist. Life will be more meaningful and happier,” according to President Peres.