Israeli President Shimon Peres has privately said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary".
Peres's private remarks were reported on Wednesday by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, the same day that Peres and Netanyahu were heading to the World Economic Forum to discuss the peace process, among other issues, with world and business leaders.
In June 2011 Netanyahu asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. "I stood before my people and said that I would accept a Palestinian state," he told a Jewish Agency Board of Trustees meeting in Jerusalem.
He then said that he would do so if Abbas "just say[s] these words: 'I accept a Jewish state.' It is a basic demand for peace." Since then, Netanyahu has firmly repeated this demand.
Meanwhile, Peres has rejected the advice of close officials to make his opposition to Netanyahu on this issue known to the media. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported him telling these officials that: "I am not the head of the opposition, I am the president." The newspaper thus concluded that Peres is unlikely to publicly disclose his political differences with Netanyahu at Davos.
Sources: Israel Hayom, Haaretz