“Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim; “May those who love you be at peace.” Psalms 122:6 (The Israel Bible™)
Last week, former US President George W. Bush was presented with the Isaiah Award by the international leadership of Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal. In a special ceremony that took place in the framework of the biannual ILR (International Leadership Reunion) Conference, which was held in Toronto, the award was presented to the former president as a tribute to his outstanding commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish nation.
Former recipients of the award include former US President Bill Clinton and late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The prize was awarded by 2015 Isaiah Award recipient Mikhael Mirilashvili, who serves as vice president of the World Jewish Congress, president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and is one of the key supporters of Keren Hayesod. Along with the prize, Mirilashvili bequeathed the former president a Sefer Tanach (Hebrew Bible) and repeated the traditional Priests’ Blessing:
“May God bless you and keep you; May God make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May God turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Delivering the Prize alongside Mirilashvili was Alexander Mashkevitch, who serves as president of Keren Hayesod in the CIS countries.
Former President Bush thanked his hosts for the great honor. In a special panel led by Canadian Senator Linda Frum, he shared his thoughts regarding the political situation in the Middle-East and the current challenges facing the US and Israel. Frum’s brother David was one of Bush’s chief speechwriters during his presidency and is famous for having coined the term ‘axis of evil’ which President Bush introduced in his State of the Union Address in 2002.
Other guests at the Keren Hayesod ILR Conference included former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and current Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.
After the event, President Bush participated in an awards ceremony honoring Mikhael Mirilashvili and Alexander Mashkevitch who received the prestigious “Jerusalem Defender” Award. This prize from Keren Hayesod, awarded for the first time, acknowledges the winners’ efforts and contributions to reinforce Jerusalem’s status in the international arena as the undisputed capital of the Jewish nation.