(JTA) — Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.
The annual prize, awarded by the Zionist Organization of Uruguay, recognizes the defense of human rights, promotion of peaceful coexistence among peoples and solidarity with the people of Israel.
Ex-Uruguayan presidents Julio Maria Sanguinetti and Luis Alberto Lacalle, both recipients of the prize, joined other former recipients and government officials, and community members at the public ceremony Sept. 2.
Mujica said he accepted the award as a tribute to all the people of Uruguay.
He said he had a deep admiration for the history of struggle and suffering of the Jewish people, noting that they also “have participated in the building of our nation. How could I not respect them and love them?”