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Israeli President Shimon Peres puts his passions on display in Toronto visit (TORONTO STAR) Amy Dempsey and Valerie Hauch 05/09/12)Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1175933--israeli-leader-passionate-about-unlocking-mysteries-of-the-brain TORONTO STAR TORONTO STAR Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Earlier on Wednesday, Israel’s President Shimon Peres spoke about the human brain and how it is the key to addressing many of the world’s economic and social problems.

But in the evening, in a sold-out appearance at the Sony Centre for Performing Arts, the first former Israeli prime minister to be elected president demonstrated he is a master of the heart and its affections.

The 88-year-old statesman kept a capacity audience enthralled and in the palm of his hand, as he sat relaxed in a chair on stage with Canadian-born journalist and moderator David Frum, giving answers to some serious questions, deflecting others, and whenever possible, injecting humour.

“Who is against democracy in the Middle East? I told them the husbands,’’ said Peres, in talking about the Arab Spring, Egypt and the fact there is still discrimination against women.

There was no joking, however, when Frum asked Peres about Syria and the future of besieged President Bashar Assad whose days, he believes, are numbered.

“He’s killed his own children . . . he won’t be forgiven,’’ said Peres.

The man who won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, for the peace talks he participated in as Israeli foreign minister, believes peace with the Palestinian people “is achievable.’’

He says that for the first time there appears to be an Israeli consensus on the need for two independent states – Israel and one for the Palestinians.

Frum asked what would happen if, once the Palestinians have a state, they shoot rockets from the West Bank “into Ben Gurion airport?’’

“If they shoot rockets, they’ll get back rockets,’’ was Peres’ comment.

Earlier in the day, Peres spoke at a Canada-Israel panel at the Ritz- Carlton on the importance of brain research

“The most brilliant instrument that we possess, that guides us, that we keep on our shoulders . . . we don’t have the slightest idea how it functions,” he said.

Peres, in Canada for a five-day state visit, gave a lengthy philosophical address that stressed the importance of brain research— a topic he is known to be passionate about.

“We know what’s happening around us without knowing what’s happening within us. And unless we shall know we shall be victims of different people — vicious, crazy, unexpected,” Peres said.

The panel discussion, hosted by Baycrest, the Ontario Brain Institute and the Canada-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (CIIRDF), brought scientists and innovation leaders from Ontario and Israel together on the same stage. (© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2012 05/09/12)

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