Daily Israel Report

Peres in Canada: Science Will Change Government

President Shimon Peres says that science can be neither conquered nor defended by armies and its advancement will change government.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/9/2012, 3:14 AM

Johnston and Peres
Johnston and Peres
Reuters

President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday that science can be neither conquered nor defended by armies, and its advancement will change the way humans govern themselves.

Peres, who is currently visiting Canada, spoke at a roundtable discussion in Ottawa on education and innovation.

“Science cannot be controlled or arrested,” Peres said, according to a report in The Canadian Press. “Science doesn't respect distances or frontiers or laws.”

He added, “The major thing is the world is becoming ungovernable. The real force in our time is no longer politics, but science. And science took away the strengths of politics.”

Citizens now must be persuaded rather than ordered in this new age of knowledge, said Peres.

He said that governments “cannot rule unless people can be convinced their rule is necessary. We shall have to act by consensus, by agreements; spend much more time to reach an agreement.”

Peres added wars need not be fought over land in the future and science can't be conquered by arms. He cited academics who've said human aggression will still cause wars.

“Is it impossible to change human nature? Who told you so?” he said. “The minute we shall overcome ourselves ... you will have the combination of non-governmental management, based on goodwill, answering individual tastes and trying to improve human self-control.”

Drawing obvious parallels to the Israeli fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon, Peres said that self control is vital and added, “We need it because the alternative is very dangerous. Otherwise, crazy people with nuclear bombs in their hands can really create catastrophe. For that, we have to work together.”

Following the roundtable, Peres witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Brain science will be the first area of collaboration.

He then took part in a commemorative tree-planting ceremony on the grounds of Canadian Governor-General David Johnston’s residence.

Peres met opposition leader Thomas Mulcair on Tuesday before moving on to Toronto on Wednesday and visiting Montreal on Thursday, CP reported.

On Monday, Johnston welcomed Peres to Canada. The two men followed protocol by reviewing the ceremonial honor guard that greeted Peres with a 21 gun salute and issuing joint statements, before holding a working meeting.

“I thank you for your invitation to visit your special country,” Peres told Johnston. “I carry with me Jerusalem's deep gratitude to Ottawa for the enduring friendship that you showed us as close kin in the family of nations.”

Peres also held private meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae on Monday.

Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.