Israel's President Shimon Peres joined Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe Thursday to dedicate a promenade honoring the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.
The promenade is in the heart of Paris, on the bank of the River Seine near the Eiffel Tower.
The Paris City Council voted unanimously to name the promenade after Ben-Gurion, who is considered the founder of modern Israel.
Some Arab groups criticized the decision, saying that Ben-Gurion was responsible for deporting Arabs from Palestine when Israel declared independence in 1948.
But Mayor Delanoe rejected the criticism.
"I not only do not apologize for this decision, but I demand the privilege and honor of dedicating this promenade in his memory, and I am proud of the existence of the State of Israel," he said.
Peres, 86, was an aide to Ben-Gurion when he became prime minister 64 years ago. He praised his mentor at the ceremony.
"Ben-Gurion was the head of a state that had not yet arisen," he said. "He dreamed of a land for a nation that was dispersed throughout the world, and he waged a war before we had an army. He sought peace and he sought ethics for Israel, and this was his legacy."
Ben-Gurion died in 1973, and is buried at his home in Israel's Negev desert.
Sources: IsraelNationalNews.com, Ha'aretz