WASHINGTON (JTA) – Shimon Peres said "the leadership of President Obama will pave the way to both a regional agreement and meaningful bilateral negotiations."
The Israeli president, speaking at the AIPAC policy conference Monday morning, also praised the 2002 Saudi peace initiative.
"Israel wasn’t a partner to the wording of this initiative, therefore it doesn’t have to agree to every word," he said. "Nevertheless, Israel respects the profound change and hopes it will be translated into action."
Speaking of Obama, Peres said the new U.S. president was the center of a "tsunami of hope" that is "rolling across the globe."
"I am convinced he has the capacity to turn the crises" afflicting the world "into opportunity," said Peres, also praising Obama’s inaugural address for offering "an outstretched hand instead of a clenched fist."
Peres is scheduled to meet with Obama on Tuesday morning.