President Shimon Peres
Photo: GPO
Peres: Recent legislation is 'march of folly'
Ever since he left Knesset, President Shimon Peres has been trying to stay out of legislative arena but recent wave of legislation leads him to break his silence

Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth President Shimon Peres said Monday that the foreign funding bill which is set to hurt left-wing organizations, the mosque bill and the proposal to amend the Libel Law make him feel ashamed.


"This is just a march of folly. What does this give us? It just damages our image. They won't allow an organization to receive a donation of more than NIS 20,000 ($5,350)? What will that give? You see, all activities will be from the outside.


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"If human rights in Israel are supervised from the outside then it will be better? It makes no sense. But sadly these guys are illogical," Peres said.


He then added: "With all due respect, there's a Jew that builds a house in Sheikh Jarrah, why isn't he taxed?"


'No democracy without tolerance' (Photo: Noam Moskovich)


Referring to mosque bill the president said: "There is a law in Israel against noise (in public places). The museum is bothering you – use the law, but don't go and create a law with a religious argument. You don't have to stir up all the Muslims and the Arab world against us," he explained.


Peres noted that he has been receiving concerned messages from world leaders and acquaintances over the recent slew of legislation. "There is no democracy without tolerance. There is no democracy without a certain amount of generosity," the president said.


"The prime minister understands this and he's trying to stop some of it. I am personally embarrassed when they try to have these laws passed.


"You can't separate Judaism and democracy. There's no such thing. I hope these laws won't receive the majority vote in the parliament because they do not contribute to Israeli democracy. "


Peres revealed that in the last few days he had held talks with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and expressed his support for Weinstein's position on legislative initiatives seeking to limit freedom of expression.




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