JERUSALEM (JTA) – Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was among the recipients of Israel’s first President’s Prize.
The new initiative, spearheaded by Israeli President Shimon Peres, honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli society and the country’s global image.
Joining Kissinger in receiving the award Thursday at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem were Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra director Zubin Mehta; Judy Feld Carr, who masterminded the rescue of thousands of Jews from Syrian prisons; attorney Uri Slonim for his charitable and volunteer work, including representing the Israeli government in negotiations to release captive Israeli soldiers; Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz; and The Rashi Foundation, which assists underprivileged youth.
"I am proud to begin a tradition in which I, as the President of Israel, express appreciation and esteem for individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the State of Israel and to all of humanity," Peres said at the ceremony. Later he told the recipients, "You are shining example for us all."