Peres visits France



Shimon Peres will inaugurate the controversial Paris Book Fair, which named Israel as the country of honor.

The Israeli president will participate in the book fair, which opens Thursday, as part of his four-day state visit to France.

There have been calls by a number of Arab countries including Tunisia and Egypt to boycott the book fair, similar to recent calls to boycott the Turin book fair, which will also honor Israel.

While Italian writers have risen to the occasion, noting that Israeli writers do not represent the Israeli government, French writers have remained silent about the call for a boycott in Paris. Some 39 Israeli writers are scheduled to attend the Paris Book Fair, including three Israeli-Arab writers.

After meeting Monday with President Nicolas Sarkozy and speaking with journalists at the Elysée Palace, the Israeli president and community leaders attended a memorial ceremony for the yeshiva students killed in Jerusalem at Paris’ main synagogue, Synagogue de la Victoire.

Peres will address a breakfast given by the Organization of Industry and Trade Leaders in France, the Movement of the French Enterprises or MEDEF, and the France-Israel Chamber of Israel, where growing trade relations between the two countries will be discussed.


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