Peres reached out in a written statement to Jewish communities around the world as "extended families," and vowed to maintain positive relations with the United States and other nations.
"We will continue to maintain our deep friendship with the U.S., important contacts in Europe, and relations we have developed with Russia and our relationships with Asian and African countries," Peres said.
The Jerusalem Post said Peres took steps to assure other ethnic and religious groups in Israel that the country was a "pluralistic society" and they were not second-class citizens. "All incidents of discrimination must be dealt with by the legal authorities," Peres said. "Greater emphasis must be placed on education toward tolerance and equality."
Shimon also exchanged personal greetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Ynetnews.com said both leaders said they hoped the new year would be peaceful and prosperous for Israelis and Palestinians, who have been unable to arrive at a peace agreement.
"I know the past year has been a difficult year, but we mustn't give up," Peres said. "We must continue to strive for peace."
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