Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday criticized the UN's decision to invite Iran's leader to attend a food summit on Rome, saying it distracted attention away from the world's hunger problems.
In an interview, Peres told The Associated Press that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was providing "bombs, not food" to the world.
Ahmadinejad drew protests and condemnations at the Rome food conference, telling a news conference Tuesday that Israel was "doomed to go."
"Inviting Ahmadinejad to this event is a disservice to the purpose of the meeting," Peres said. "The world is short of food, not of bombs, the world is short of help, not of hatred," He said.
The Iranian leader's statements against Israel quickly hijacked the media's attention from the world's growing food crisis. The three-day summit at the UN Food and Agriculture headquarters in Rome is meant to tackle acute emergencies caused by soaring food prices across the globe, and how to help small farmers in poor countries produce enough food.
Ahmadinejad is openly hostile to the Jewish state and has repeatedly predicted its destruction. Israel believes Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and in light of Ahmadinejad's calls for wiping Israel off the map, has identified Iran as its greatest threat. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
Iran also funds and trains militant groups Hizbullah and Hamas, which are both sworn to Israel's destruction.