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Iton Gadol noted B’nai B’rith’s prescence at the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony, in which Israeli President Isaac Herzog awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor to his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades. B’nai B’rith-Jerusalem World Center Director Alan Schneider represented B’nai B’rith.

Read in Spanish in Iton Gadol.

The director of the B’nai B’rith-Jerusalem World Center, Alan Schneider, represented the institution in an official ceremony at the residence of the president of Israel in which Isaac Herzog awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest civil recognition granted by the State of Israel to foreign dignitaries, to his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades.

Schneider was the only representative of international Jewish organizations at the ceremony, in recognition of the key role of B’nai B’rith in building Jewish-Hellenic relations for more than a decade.

Herzog praised Anastasiades for being an ally and a true friend of the State of Israel; for his contributions to the great friendship and prosperous association between Cyprus and Israel, which is flourishing in many fields; and for his key role in the establishment and development of the trilateral relationship between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, which is a strategic anchor of stability in the Mediterranean region.

Herzog, who had received the Great Collar of the Order of Makarios III on his previous visit to Cyprus in March, said: “The relationship between the Cypriot people and the people of Israel dates back centuries. As you know, my own maternal grandfather, Simcha Ambache, had great confidence in Cyprus about 100 years ago, and he and some partners founded the famous Phassouri Plantations.

“The core of this new Mediterranean reality is based on the courageous bilateral relationship between Israel and Cyprus, which you have courageously led, as well as our trilateral alliance with Greece,” he added.

In his response, Anastasiades, who chose Israel for his first official visit to a third country in May 2013, shortly after taking office, said: “Being invested with Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor evokes intense feelings and emotions. Accept the sincere gratitude, both mine and that of the people of the Republic of Cyprus, to whom I owe the greatest honor today; an honor that I humbly accept as the sincere recognition and appreciation for the tireless efforts I have made to continue advancing in our relationship, which we can now call proudly strategic. These two occasions are not coincidences; they are brilliant examples of the unwavering links between our countries and peoples, and of our commitment to see them grow more and more.”

Anastasiades said that the multifaceted relationship between Israel and Cyprus “seeks to include other countries in the region that share their common vision that peace, stability and security are the most valuable strategic asset, and this is not a cliché.”