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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.)

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.

President Shimon Peres
today (Tuesday, 4 December 2012), welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Twitter with a special Tweet which read; "Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best and can form a basis to further peace everywhere"

President Peres to the new Papal Nuncio Guiseppe Lazzarotto:
"Religion has a spiritual impact upon people, which is no less important than material strength. It is peace that we need more than anything else, peace in faith and peace in our daily lives." 

President Peres met this morning with the new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto at a formal ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem in which five new ambassadors, amongst them Archbishop Lazzarotto, presented their Letters of Credence to President Peres. President Peres congratulated Archbishop Lazzarotto on his position and said, "I have the highest regard for His Holiness and I was glad to see that he started to Tweet. Today we have the best relationship between Israel and the Holy See in the last 2000 thousand years. That is the main story and I hope those relations will continue to improve. We feel that the relationship now is deeper and wider than ever before, a relationship that looks to the future.

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 "

Thursday, December 6th, 2012, at 4:30 pm - at the Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center - Tel Aviv University.
In the year of the Centenary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, a Hero without a Grave. The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in cooperation with Embassy of Sweden in Israel.