Shimon Peres, Star of Davos: 'The Americans Have Guts'

Peres on Turkey: 'With all due respect to friendship, the truth is above all.'

DAVOS - With 29 meetings in four days, seven speeches, dozens of interviews and countless adoring looks, President Shimon Peres is beyond doubt the biggest star at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Speaking in a quiet moment with TheMarker, Peres shares his views on capitalism - "They thought they were making money out of nothing," and Americans, "they have guts." Of the Chinese, he said, "They're running the business really well." He had what to say odispute with Turkey: "With all due respect to friendship, the truth is above all." The Turks evidently hadn't read Hamas' manifesto calling for the death of all Jews, the president suggested.

Peres has been a fixture at the Davos meet for years, and it brings out the best in him. With meetings round the clock with the leaders of countries and business, and with endless debate on the loftiest of subjects and interviews without cease, our president is in his element.

The mood at this Alpine resort is grim this year, as the financial crisis takes hold, with no end in sight. Yet two men, George Soros and Shimon Peres, seem above it all. No, Peres answers a question, he doesn't sense intensification of anti-Semitism following Operation Cast Lead. During his interviews and discussions, he tried to focus on the future, not the past, but found himself under attack, "as though Israel is a terrorist country and Hamas is democratic, a light unto the nations." See full story in Friday's Week's End.