Israeli President Addresses EU Parliament

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- While Israeli President Shimon Peres was in Europe Tuesday to address the E.U. parliament, some European lawmakers were in Israel visiting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

At midday Tuesday, Peres addressed the European Union's parliament, wrapping up a week of diplomacy in Europe that included meetings in Brussels and Paris.

Peres was the first Israeli president to address the parliament since former President Chaim Herzog spoke with the then 10-member E.U., 28 years ago. Today 27 nations make up the E.U.

After an official welcoming ceremony, E.U. President Martin Schulz met privately with Peres before he addressed the 754-member body.

In his speech, Peres asked lawmakers to label Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy, a terror group. He also spoke about the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, Syria's civil war and the danger of the Assad regime's chemical weapons stash falling into terrorists' hands.

Meanwhile in Israel Tuesday, the Shomron Regional Council is hosting a delegation of E.U. parliamentarians from Austria, Belgium, and Turkey. Last week, Swedish and German officials toured the Shomron (Samaria).

The effort follows the E.U.'s recent announcement to label and/or boycott Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria.  According to Shomron Regional Council spokesman David Ha'ivri, the lawmakers decided to see the businesses and meet the people who work there. 

"Upon learning of this issue, some E.U. representatives decided to make an immediate visit to Shomron to visit the industrial parks in the region and show their support," Ha'ivri said in a press release.

The delegation will visit factories in the Barkan Industrial Park where Jews and Arabs work side by side in thriving businesses. They will also visit Ariel University where Jewish and Arab students make up the student body.

Shomron regional director Gershon Mesika will meet with the delegation before it departs for the Knesset, Israel's parliament, to meet with the lawmaker's Israeli counterparts.

To learn more about the E.U.'s historic decisions concerning the Jewish state, The Times of Israel posted an op-ed by Finnish journalist Tomas Sandell, founding director of the European Coalition for Israel, entitled "Undiplomatic EU Diplomats."

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