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NEWS - News of B'nai B'rith

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Jerusalem (18 May) Israeli President Shimon Peres received today (May 18) the first B'nai B'rith Europe Lifetime Award of Merit at a special ceremony at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem. B'nai B'rith Europe President Ralph Hofmann travelled from Frankfurt Germany to make the presentation.

Also participating in the ceremony were Mrs. Simone Hofmann (Germany); Mrs. Erika van Gelder (Holland), B'nai B'rith Europe Senior Vice President; Mrs. Jolle Perelberg (France), former International Vice President, B'nai B'rith International; Mr. Michael Nathan, President, B'nai B'rith Israel (Israel); Mr. Robert Levy, Member, B'nai B'rith Europe Committee for Central and Eastern Europe (France/Israel); Adv. Alan Schneider, Director, B'nai B'rith World Center – Jerusalem (Israel)

B'nai B'rith Europe Awards of Merit have been presented in the past to Prof. Richard v. Weizacker, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany (1991), French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy (1994), Dr. Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany (1996) and Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (2008). This years' B'nai B'rith Europe Award Merit will be bestowed on Dr. Mathias Doepfner, Chairman of the Axel Springer SE during a festive ceremony in Frankfurt / Main Germany

This year it is the first time the B'nai B'rith Europe Liftetime Award of Merit is awarded. The B'nai B'rith Europe Lifetime Award of Merit is awarded to outstanding individuals who have dedicated at least 40 years of service to the wellbeing of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and who embody the following attributes:

· manifestly contributed to the resilience and unity of the Jewish people wherever they
may be
· supported by deed and by spirit the State of Israel as the eternal homeland of the Jewish people
· fought against and spoken out against all manifestations of anti-Semitism and prejudice
· represented the highest calling of Jewish values, ethics, nationhood
and culture
· vigilantly promoted freedom, democracy and peace amongst all people and constantly presented a message of hope
· consistently displayed a deep concern and interest for the Jewish people and for future generations residing in the Diaspora
· served as a role model and a voice for the Jewish people worldwide while exhibiting outstanding personal character, courage and foresight

President Peres received a gold medal and a certificate that noted, in part: "You are the face of Israel and of the Jewish people and you bring together the highest Jewish values of ethics, morality, tolerance, culture and the national unity of the Jewish people. The B'nai Brith fraternity is also committed to these principles."

In his response President Peres said: "In my view every Jew deserves a medal of merit because to be a Jew is to be committed to the spirit of humanity. It is not simple and it never was simple to be a Jew. For me being a Jew means keeping the moral foundations of the Ten Commandments, continuous learning and pursuing peace. A Jew today is a person who ensures that his grandchildren are Jewish. That is what B'nai B'rith does, and it does it very well."

At the ceremony, President Peres recorded a video message that will be screened during the B'nai B'rith Europe Convention that will be held in Frankfurt, Germany 8-10 June.

B'nai B'rith Europe – an affiliate of B'nai B'rith International - is represented in 29 countries throughout Europe, with over 5.000 members. With an office based in Brussels it is represented at the European Parliament, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the United Nations in Geneva and UNESCO in Paris. The B'nai B'rith World Center has served since 1982 as B'nai B'rith's permanent and official presence in Jerusalem and as its public affairs arm in Israel. It is dedicated to strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations.

For further information contact Simone Hofmann under This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it