peres - Tomer Appelbaum - June 17 2011
President Shimon Peres. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Iran is the greatest threat faced by Israel, President Shimon Peres said Sunday.

"Iran is the greatest danger, both for Israel and for the entire world," he told Druze leaders while visiting a northern Israeli village.

Peres' remarks came amid a revived debate in Israel on whether it should carry out an airstrike on Tehran's nuclear facilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was silent on the subject Sunday as he opened his weekly cabinet meeting, but other ministers criticized officials for speaking publicly for or against the issue.

Peres also called for a renewal of peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Acting Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, calling them "serious, moderate and wise" leaders who had spoken out against terrorism and were interested in peace.

He called the Palestinian bid to achieve UN recognition of their state, before a treaty with Israel, a "mistake" which only damaged the peace process, a statement from his office said.