President Shimon Peres - AP - Feb. 21, 2011
President Shimon Peres on Feb. 21, 2011. Photo by AP
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Israel's ties with Egypt are historic, President Shimon Peres said while visiting Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in honor of the Passover holiday.

"This Passover is different from all others. This Passover, Egyptians themselves are trying to leave the house of slavery," Peres told the spiritual leader. The Passover story tells of how Jews fled slavery in Egypt in order to come to the land of Israel.

The president also spoke about the role of rabbis in the "pursuit for peace."

"The conflict must not be used to increase hate of the Arab world against us," Peres said, telling the rabbi "I ask for your blessing and help to advance peace."

The controversial issue of the conversion process of Israel Defense Forces soldiers also came up, with the president lauding Yosef's acceptance of the conversions.

"Your position and actions have aided many IDF soldiers who have endangered themselves to defend Israel," Peres told the rabbi.