JERUSALEM -- President Shimon Peres of Israel offered strong support on Monday for President Obama's decision to seek Congressional approval before taking military action in response to Syria's apparent use of chemical weapons, saying he had "full faith" in his "moral and operational stance."
In an hourlong interview on Army Radio, he said: "I recommend patience. I am confident that the United States will respond appropriately to Syria."
Many Israeli experts and analysts have condemned Mr. Obama's move, saying it signified America's waning influence in the Middle East and left Israel on its own to deal with regional threats, including Iran's nuclear program. But Mr. Peres said, "I don't think that exercising judgment means stammering."
The comments came after a dictate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued to his cabinet on Sunday to refrain from speaking publicly about Syria.
A spokesman for Mr. Netanyahu declined to discuss Mr. Peres's comments or say whether the two leaders had talked about Syria since Mr. Obama's speech on Saturday, in which he announced that he would delay a military strike pending a Congressional vote on the matter. A spokesman for Mr. Peres refused to answer questions about whether his comments were coordinated with the prime minister or about the last time they had discussed Syria; he also would not say when Mr. Peres last spoke with Mr. Obama.
Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial post that sits outside the government and has no power over foreign policy. But Mr. Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former prime minister who recently turned 90, frequently tries to leverage his international stature as an elder statesman, sometimes causing controversy at home.
A year ago, he made waves by speaking out against the prospect of a lone Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities at a time when Mr. Netanyahu and his defense minister were believed to be contemplating just such a move. People close to the prime minister were quoted in the Israeli news media accusing Mr. Peres of overstepping his role.
Before Israel's elections in January, Mr. Peres was accused of meddling in politics after telling a group of visiting ambassadors that Israel must reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians "without further delay" and that he considered President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority a suitable partner for negotiations.
Mr. Netanyahu's political party, Likud Beiteinu, issued a sharp statement condemning Mr. Peres for expressing a "personal political opinion that is disconnected from the Israeli public's stance," and the prime minister himself said that "the diplomatic process must be managed responsibly and sagaciously and not in undue haste."
Mr. Peres weighed in again on both Iran and the peace process in Monday's radio interview.
Many Israeli analysts see Mr. Obama's hesitation on attacking Syria, despite his earlier statement that chemical weapons use was a red line that would prompt White House action, as a harbinger that Washington might similarly waver on its vow to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
But Mr. Peres said Monday that "Obama will not allow nuclear weapons in Iran," and that Israel "will not have to be alone in this campaign, because it is a vital American and world interest that threatens the world and not only Israel."
Further, he said, "Israel can't do it," a statement that defies Mr. Netanyahu's frequent insistence that Israel must and can defend itself by itself from all security threats, including Iran.
Regarding the peace process, Mr. Peres said Mr. Netanyahu "took a difficult decision" in restarting direct negotiations with the Palestinians this summer. He again praised Mr. Abbas as someone "who says he is in favor of peace, who is in favor of a Jewish state."
Mr. Peres maintains close relationships with many foreign leaders, who generally include a meeting and a photo opportunity with him during their official visits here. He has long been an admirer of Mr. Obama, who awarded him America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in June 2012. Mr. Peres returned the gesture by bestowing Israel's Presidential Medal of Distinction on Mr. Obama during his visit here in March.
"I trust President Obama," Mr. Peres said in the radio interview on Monday while discussing Syria. "I think it is permissible to weigh matters. It is better to weigh before and not after. I have confidence in him when it comes to Israel."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.