Obama, Israeli scientist accept Nobels


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The instruments of war have a part in preserving peace, President Obama said as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

"We can understand there will still be war and strive for peace," Obama said Thursday afternoon in his acceptance speech before an audience of dignitaries that included the Norwegian royal family.  

Obama conceded that "We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetime," but added later, "War is sometimes necessary, and war is sometimes an expression of human folly."

Obama quoted Nobel laureate and human rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and said he stood before the assembled to see him receive his peace prize as a product of King’s work. The U.S. leader also called on the nations of the world to take action in the form of sanctions against Iran and other countries that break international law.

Before the award ceremony, Obama told reporters, "I have no doubt that there are others that may be more deserving. My task here is to continue on the path that I believe is not only important for America but important for lasting peace in the world."

Meanwhile, Weizmann Institute scientist Ada Yonath was in Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry along with Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz for their work in mapping ribosomes, the mechanisms that manufacture proteins within cells. Yonath, the fourth woman to receive the chemistry prize, was among five women to receive 11 Nobel Prizes in Stockholm on Thursday, which is the birthday of the prize’s founder, Alfred Nobel.

Yonath  spoke behalf of the three chemistry laureates. She had been chosen to sit next to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a dinner after Thursday evening’s ceremony and was escorted to the ceremony by the king, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Nine Israelis have won Nobel Prizes; Yonath is the first woman.

On Wednesday, she visited the home of Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Benny Dagan, to attend a reception in her honor. 

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