(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres congratulated President-Elect Barack Obama on his victory:

"It was an American election and a worldwide choice. I don’t recall any other election that practically all of humanity was following with hope and concern. I want to congratulate the newly-elected President: young, fresh, promising, representing a change and introducing change. The changes that I can mention – it is an opportunity to escape the present world crisis and enter into a new era of cooperation, of productive economy and of human solidarity. In a way, it is an end of racism. There is no longer any way that any white man can claim superiority, nor any black person feel discrimination. We are the same people, and this election is a great statement to that effect.

I must say that the elections themselves were a great event for the American democracy. I also have the utmost respect for the other candidate John McCain, who fought with great courage and stamina. And when it was over, they shook hands together. For us, America is a great friend and a great hope. We are connected by the Bible and we are together for peace. When President Obama was here, he asked me what he can do for Israel. My answer was: be a great President of the United States of America. If you will be a great President of the United States of America, you will have great promise for Israel as well, and for all of the region and for all of our neighbors. Nobody should look at whose side the President is on – he just has to be on the side of peace. And if he will be on the side of peace, peace will come closer and more possible. I think that all of us are excited and hopeful and send our best wishes from the eternal capital of Jerusalem."