SWISS, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP ) —- Israeli President Simon Peres expressed hope Monday that popular revolutions in the Middle East could improve relations between his country and its Arab neighbors if they become more democratic and prosperous, VOA reported.
Mr. Peres said changes in government would need to be accompanied by economic development, as poverty and oppression in the region had fed resentment against Israel. He spoke after meeting Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey in Geneva.
The Israeli leader warned that regime change alone would not be enough to lift the affected countries out of economic decline, saying science and technology had a crucial role to play. Mr. Peres said the Arab revolutions were greatly assisted by advances in technology.
Israel has been monitoring regional developments closely and evaluating the implications for its own security.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday named a veteran agent of the country’s Shin Bet security service as the next head of the agency. Yoram Cohen will replace outgoing director Yuval Diskin.
Shin Bet handles domestic security in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Cohen takes over at a time of increased tension with the Palestinians due to a sudden escalation in rocket attacks and retaliatory strikes between Israel and the Hamas-led Gaza Strip. (*)