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President Peres took part in a Christmas celebration in northern Israel and said:

"It is for me a privilege to send our profound wishes for a Happy Christmas to the whole Christian world and our hopes that the Middle East may enter an era of peace and prosperity."
"The State of Israel is committed to protecting all the holy sites and the freedom of worship for everyone."

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, paid a visit to the official residence of Archbishop Chacour in Haifa. President Peres sang traditional Christmas songs with the local children's choir from the Christian-Arabic school in L'bilin.
President Peres delivered a festive greeting to Christians in Israel and across the world and said, "It is for me a privilege, as president of the State of Israel, to send profound wishes on behalf of all of Israel for a Happy Christmas to the whole Christian world and to express the hope that the Middle East may enter an era of peace and prosperity. The State of Israel is committed to protecting all the holy sites and the freedom of worship for everyone. In the Holy Land coexistence between Jews, Christians and Muslims will continue. From the city of Haifa, a model of peace and coexistence, I wish to send one clear message to the world – a message of peace and unity between all faiths, between all nations."

December 19, 2012 - Mayor Nir Barkat toured the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City this morning to speak with local religious leaders, residents, and store keepers to wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Mayor Barkat took the opportunity while meeting with representatives of the Old City’s Christian leadership to discuss the challenges facing their communities and to address their concerns regarding traffic conditions, infrastructure, and the expansion of schools.

During the first of three scheduled tours, Mayor Barkat held meetings with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop in Jerusalem, and the Head of the Anglican Evangelical Episcopal Church in Israel.

Mayor Barkat’s annual tradition of bringing holiday greetings to Christian leaders in the Old City has become an opportunity for a yearly update and review of the concerns of each community. The Mayor told residents "there are no problems, only challenges, and we are looking for the most effective ways to resolve them." In this spirit, the Mayor was joined by representatives from the relevant branches of the Municipality, as well as his Deputy Mayor for Planning, Naomi Tsur, and City Councilman Meir Margalit.

Photo  Silvia Golan

On December 4th 2012, the Embassy of Japan in the State of Israel hosted a reception on the occasion of Japan’s National Day and celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations with Israel.
Japanese Ambassador Hideo Sato welcomed honorary guest President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres as well as members of diplomatic missions in Israel and other distinguished guests. Speaking in Hebrew, the Japanese Ambassador addressed the public in a cheerful and amicable manner.
During his speech, President Peres congratulated His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on his birthday, while also congratulating his people on their National day.
The head of State stressed the importance of Japanese-Israeli bilateral relations, reminding the audience that “Japan was among the first Asian countries to recognize Israel, 60 years ago, and Israel was the first Mediterranean country to recognize Japan”.  This friendship, President Peres added, extends not only to matters of State, but to Israelis as well, who admire Japanese traditions and its way of life.

Office of the Press Secretary December 13, 2012

East Room
7:50 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody.
AUDIENCE: Good evening.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you for coming to the White House tonight to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. (Applause.) It is truly an honor to host so many leaders from the Jewish community this evening. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is here. (Applause.) And obviously I know I speak for all of us when we say that America's support for our friend and ally Israel remains unshakeable during these difficult times. (Applause.)

Many members of Congress and local government are here, and we want to welcome you. We are graced by two Supreme Court Justices, several members of my Cabinet and administration -- so, everybody, be on your best behavior. (Laughter.)

I want to thank the incredibly talented members of the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir for their service. (Applause.) They are incredible young people. Obviously we're in awe of their service to our nation, and for sharing a couple of Hanukkah favorites with the Marine band.

And finally, I'd like to recognize the rabbis and lay leaders who traveled from all over the country to be here. Thank you for sharing the holiday with us. We're grateful. (Applause.)

Five new ambassadors from Croatia, Switzerland, India, Belgium and the Vatican presented their Letters of Credence to the President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, in a formal ceremony which takes place at the President's Residence.

  • Croatian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Pjer Šimunović  
  • Swiss Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Andreas Bau
  • Indian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Jaideep Sarkar
  • Belgian Ambassador, H.E. Count John Cornet d’Elzius
  • Vatican Amassador, H.E. Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto
  • President Peres said: " Israel welcome you - feel like home "