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Peres: Mideast upheavals are result of citizens misunderstanding democracy

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 Itongadol.- President Shimon Peres on Thursday implied that part of the chaos occurring with democratic upheavals across the Middle East is a result of citizens in the new democracies "misunderstanding democracy, since they think elections are democracy."

"But elections are just procedure. Democracy starts the day after elections and includes underlying values and substance," Peres added at comments at a Herzliya Conference on the future of the State Comptroller in a changing society.
Next, the president said that many "complain to me that there are no big leaders today. But it is harder to become a big leader today in an age where everything is less dependent on one person." Discussing other important trends, such as the just recently announced major cuts in the defense sector, Peres said, "Before we needed a big army, but now we need to redefine what is \’force\’." He continued that in an age of "nuclear bombs that are so strong that you can\’t use it" (along with other non conventional and cyber weapons) "why does it matter how many bombs you have" and how big an army you have.
Peres also said that the "US spent trillions of dollars on fighting terror and could not end it." Regarding the impact of globalization on human rights and values, the president said that, "we must end racism – you can\’t be pro-globalization and a racist." He added that, "Globalization is not a question, it\’s a reality. Science is globalization and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. We can\’t fight over borders as there are no borders." But "negative things also come from science. Science by itself" has no conscience about whether it is used for positive uses "or to make bombs." Returning more directly to the topic of the conference, Peres said that the role of the State Comptroller is to protect the minority.
"The government only guards the need of the majority," Peres said, "the Comptroller guards each and every individual citizen\’s rights." Peres also stated very strongly that there must be "no compromise" in terms of corruption in the government. This is possibly in reaction to a recent OECD report that had Israel listed as the most corrupt country among those polled.
 

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