September 6, 2023 – Israel’s President Isaac Herzog awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor to outstanding members of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem faculty Profs. Mona Khoury and Meir Buzaglo, who have made an extraordinary contribution to the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and all humanity.
They were among 13 recipients in various fields in Israel and the Diaspora to receive Israel’s highest civilian honor during a ceremony at the President’s residence. “Having a shared foundation is what provides stability and strength for growth and prosperity,” President Herzog said. “This idea, of prosperity based on great diversity but rooted in a common foundation – is a very central theme that has been woven into the Israeli presidency since its inception.”
Hebrew University Vice President for Strategy and Diversity Prof. Mona Khoury expressed her gratitude for the Presidential Medal of Honor and the recognition of her work in promoting diversity and inclusion in academia. She stated, “Receiving this prestigious award is not just a personal honor, but a testament to the power of diversity and unity in shaping a better future for all people. Together, we can build a stronger and more inclusive society that values the contributions of every individual, regardless of their background. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of breaking through glass ceilings, and in my role at Hebrew University, I’m committed to shattering those barriers for others.”
Prof. Meir Buzaglo is a lecturer in the Hebrew University’s Department of Philosophy, a leader of the renewal of Jewish tradition and liturgical poetry (piyyut) in Israel and has led the Tikkun movement for social change. He says, “Amidst the clamor of external distractions, precision in our vision becomes paramount. As the ancient verse wisely states, ‘Without vision, a nation perishes.’ Today, as Israel grapples with the complex balance of being a Jewish and democratic state, it faces pressing concerns. Yet, we should strive to envision a revitalized Middle East, where we can transform the challenges and crises that confront us into opportunities for progress and prosperity in the region while enriching the Abraham Accords.”
The Medal was established by the late Shimon Peres, the State of Israel’s ninth president. Upon taking office, President Isaac Herzog established an advisory committee chaired by Supreme Court Judge (ret.), Prof. Yoram Danzinger, to nominate candidates from all parts of Israeli society, including Jewish Diaspora leaders.
Addressing the award recipients at the event, President Herzog said, “This is embedded deeply in the DNA of the State of Israel, and it is not without reason that it is reflected in all its glory in you – recipients of the Presidential Medal of Honor in the 75th year of the State. You have been privileged to do good, to bring about change, and to make a dramatic contribution to the State of Israel, to the Jewish people, for all humanity. This is why each and every one of you is worthy of receiving the highest civilian decoration in Israel – the Presidential Medal of Honor.”