Shimon Peres praises science over politics


Israeli President Shimon Peres.


Gali Tibbon

Israeli President Shimon Peres told a roundtable discussion on education and innovation that science is changing how governments operate, The Canadian Press reported.

Peres is in Canada for a five-day state visit.

He delivered a subtle, yet engaging speech in Ottawa that both enlightened the Iran nuclear debate while almost skirting it entirely.

"The minute we shall overcome ourselves ... you will have the combination of non-governmental management based on goodwill, answering individual tastes and trying to improve human self-control," he said, according to the Candian Press. "We need (self-control) because the alternative is very dangerous. Otherwise, crazy people with nuclear bombs in their hands can really create catastrophe."

Peres, an 88-year-old Nobel laureate, also witnessed the Royal Society of Canada and Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities sign a memorandum of understanding.

"The real force in our time is no longer politics, but science," Peres said.

The two groups will combine on brain research, CP reported.

Peres began his visit by discussion security with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Agence France-Press said.

The international community continues to scrutinize Iran over its nuclear energy program.

Iran claims it's pursuing power and medical isotopes, while critics such as Israel worry the nation is enriching uranium to produce weapons.

The leaders discussed Israel's "uncertain security environment and the importance of diplomacy as the primary instrument for peace and security," according to a statement from Harper's office.

Canada has long pledged its support to Israel, something not unnoticed by Peres.

The Israeli president is largely a ceremonial role, but Peres has served his nation since 1959 and was twice prime minister.

"Israel still is in search of peace," Peres said earlier in his trip, Postmedia reported. "That is our desire. Canada (has) supported us in our efforts to achieve real peace and to deter dangers."

Peres is also planning trip to Montreal and Toronto this week.