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Peres Hosts Spanish Royals

The Crown Prince and Princess of Spain, Felipe de Borbon and Letizia Ortiz, paid a 24 hour visit to Israel this week.
By David Lev
First Publish: 4/12/2011, 10:56 PM / Last Update: 4/13/2011, 12:12 AM

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In a sign of growing diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain, the Crown Prince and Princess of Spain, Felipe de Borbon and Letizia Ortiz, were in Israel this week on an official state visit. President Shimon Peres hosted the royal pair. The Prince and Princess are on a royal visit to Israel to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain, The visit, which is the first for the Crown Prince to Israel, is a reciprocal one coming after Peres' visit King Juan Carlos I in March.

Peres held an official welcoming ceremony for his guests at the President's House in Jerusalem on Monday morning. Following the ceremony, Peres held a working meeting with his guests, telling them “Israel welcomes you warmly and with the expectation that this historic visit will contribute greatly to the strengthening of relations between Spain and Israel in the fields of economy, science, technology, education and culture.”

Speaking to his visitors at a welcoming ceremony, Peres said “I would like to thank your father, the King of Spain, and Queen Sofia, for the warm welcome I received in Spain. King Juan Carlos bravely succeeded to lead Spain to democracy after Franco, strengthening Spain and turning it into an open, peace-loving country.”

Although only 24 hours long, Felipe and Letizia managed to pack numerous activities into their visit to Israel, paying a call at Yad Vashem, attending a eception at Tel Aviv University, breakfasting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and touring the Israel Museum. Speaking at Tel Aviv University Monday night, Felipe urged greater technological cooperation between Israel and Spain.

On Tuesday afternoon, the two visited Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas before returning home.