Israeli President Shimon Peres received an honorary degree from Kings College, part of the University of London.
The president gave a keynote speech in a ceremony at Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, in which he called on the business community to invest in Israel. A British minister joined his call.
Peres told the audience of more than 200 banking, finance and business leaders that the global financial crisis is just the right time to invest in Israel.
â€œIn this time of global financial crisis, Israel is proving that it has a reliable economy, hence anyone who wants to look to the future should cooperate with Israel,â€ he said.
Lord Peter Mandelson, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, responded by calling for deeper business ties between Britain and its â€œfirm friendâ€ Israel.
â€œYour countryâ€™s prudent fiscal policy, structural reforms and investment in education and high-tech industries have encouraged strong growth, foreign investment and consumer spending, and left your economy well placed to withstand the current global downturn,â€ Mandelson said.
He added, “Only in the context of a safe and secure Israel living in peace with its neighbors, alongside a prosperous and democratic Palestinian state, will Israel be able fully to unlock its immense potential.â€
Peres also used the opportunity to attack those who are calling for an academic boycott.