Israeli President Tours Bay Area Tech Giants, Speaks In SF

MENLO PARK (CBS SF) – Israeli President Shimon Peres said Facebook offers people a way to bypass the failed efforts of governments and seek peace across national boundaries on their own.

The 88-year-old leader visited the social networking site’s Silicon Valley headquarters Tuesday as part of a regional swing to promote Israel’s tech industry.

In an interview with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg streamed live on the company’s website, Peres repeatedly praised Facebook as a tool for positive social change by enabling citizens of different countries to connect.

Responding to a question about Iran’s nuclear program, Peres says he had nothing against the Iranian people but condemned its government as a seat of “moral corruption.”

Peres was also scheduled to meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and launch his official page on the site.

The president was also the guest of honor at a luncheon at the Palo Alto Four Seasons Hotel. The heads of various venture capitol companies, including Accel, Sequoia, and Greylock, were expected to attend.

The president’s day in the Bay Area concluded with a speech at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood. About 2,000 attendees, including state and city officials, were at the synagogue for the sold out appearance. Gov. Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee presented the Israeli president the key to the city.

On Monday the president visited the IBM Almaden Research Center labs in San Jose and attended a dinner hosted by the chairmen and CEO of Cisco Systems.

Peres will continue his Bay Area visit through Wednesday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBSSan Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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