Netanyahu and Peres Bring Israeli Presidential Conference to a Close

Speaking at last day of fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, the prime minister says Israel wants U.S. Secretary of State Kerry to succeed; Peres: Israelis pray those who are not our friends today will be friends tomorrow.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were set to headline the final plenary session on Thursday at the fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Professor Menahem Ben Sasson, and Israel Maimon were also featured orators at the concluding event, entitled "The Decisions that will Shape Tomorrow."

The three-day star-studded affair, hosted by Peres and coinciding with his 90th birthday, has featured speeches by countless prominent leaders, celebrities, and impressively accomplished individuals from across the world in a wide variety of fields.

The final lecture of the conference seeks to culminate several days of inspirational and enlightening dialogue by taking a “complete and comprehensive look at the picture of tomorrow, to identify the critical decisions we are able to make and that we must make if we are indeed to have a better tomorrow.”

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8:14 P.M.: Peres leaves the stage, and the 2013 Presidential Conference is concluded with the audience rising for the singing of Israel's national anthem.

8:10 P.M.: Thanking the many participants of the conference, Peres wins applause when he says Israelis 'pray that those who are not our friends today will be our friends tomorrow.'

8:05 P.M.: Peres: 'Israel facing ongoing attempts of delegitimization. But this conference contains within it a winning strategy to face these attempts; It is a legitimizing conference, that shows how involved the residents of this nation are in creating, in renewing, in inventing. We are a nation with a life wish.'

8:00 P.M.: Peres takes the stage, thanking the audience. 'This was an amazing intellectual experience for me. The real face of Israel was reflected in the various discussions that were held within this building.'

7:59 P.M.: 'Ultimately,' says Netanyahu, closing his remarks, 'it is the willingness of the Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state that will determine whether [progress to peace is made]. This is the heart of the matter.'

7:50 P.M.: Netanyahu places the full blame for the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on the shoulders of the Palestinian leadership, saying 'Our neigbors must accept us as we accept them.'

7:48 P.M. Netanyahu: 'We give Secretary Kerry all our support, because we want him to succeed. we must address the question, why are we unsuccessful in achieving peace with the Palestinians. Why have Israel's past six governments fail in promoting peace?'

7:45 P.M.:  Praising yesterday's decision to export 40% of Israel's gas, Netanyahu says 'It turns out Moses wasn't such a bad navigator after all. He came to the land of milk and honey- and gas. (...) We won't make the same mistake other countries made, we will fill up our country's coffers, for the benefit of every Israeli.'

7:39: P.M. Invoking the holocaust at the opening of his remarks, Netanyahu says security is at the forefront of his concerns. PM expresses doubt as to the changes portended by Iran's new leadership, urging the international community to 'keep up the pressure, and keep up the demands.'

7:34: P.M. Netanyahu, speaking in English: We face great challenges, from Morroco to Pakistan, there is an unprecendented earthquake going on. There is a struggle in this region between medievalism and modernity. I am convinced the forces of modernity will win out.

7:32: P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heckled by members of the audience who shout as he takes the stage.

7:31 P.M. Natan Sharansky, chairman of Jewish Agency: 'Israel is one the most optimistic countries in the world'... 'When discussing the assimilation of Jews in the U.S. and attempts todelegitimize the state of Israel, the answer to both issues is the same- the strengthening of ties between Israel and the Jewish diaspora. '

7:10 P.M. Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, head of the Hebrew Univeristy of Jerusalem, takes the stage.

7:07 P.M.: Session commences.