President Shimon Peres
President Shimon Peres, June 2013 Photo by AP
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Reuters
President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. Photo by Reuters

In his last public greeting as president, Shimon Peres has called on Israelis to "be proud, but never satisfied" and to make peace with their neighbors.

"I remember the first days [of Israel] and the dream we had," Peres said in his YouTube address on the eve of Independence Day, "and I have to admit that the dream was too small when I see the reality that was born out of it."

Speaking in English, Peres went on to list some of Israel's achievements, including its steadily growing population, its prominent place on the front line of scientific progress, and its ties with Diaspora Jews, which he extolled as "an unbelievable brotherhood."

But in the second half of his greeting, Peres warned his listeners from becoming complacent. "Our task is not over," he said, calling for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

"To pursue peace is a Jewish value, and we have to achieve it in our time," Peres said, adding, "the sooner the better."

Peres further said that Israel is obligated to fight anti-Semitism and spread freedom. He added that the state must also commit to help its citizens overcome poverty.

"We were born to do so," said Peres, regarding Israel's duties, "and even if we didn't accomplish it, we must go on and struggle for it."

The president concluded on a lighter note: "Today, let's really be happy and proud. Let's continue to work and work, and dream and dream – for dreams are the greatest way to create a great reality."