You are a symbol to the many Americans who follow in your footsteps, and to millions more around the globe. Very few have succeeded, by virtue of love, in winning over so many hearts in a world where winning usually means taking by force. Your ability to penetrate people’s hearts, to support and embrace your fellowmen, place you at the head of the spiritual leaders of this period.
The Land of the Bible has shown us the importance of the individual in influencing the masses. The people of the prophets understand what you have always seen so clearly: “I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, and they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.” (Jeremiah, I 18,19).
Few men in our generation speak out, prompted by of the strength of their belief, their love and sense of mission, as you do on all the platforms at your disposal, to millions of listeners and believers. Few men in our generation advocate love, warmth and brotherhood as you do, but you do not confine yourself to speeches – you are also a leader when it comes to deeds. You were one of the great fighters in the last exodus before the iron gates of Soviet Russia were breached and millions of Jews returned to their homeland. You were there to lend them a shoulder, to help in the absorption of the sons returning to their home.
Your actions caused a great light to shine upon the many here at this difficult time, as it is written: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah, IX, 1.)
You opened your heart to everyone in need and to all organizations and groups that help the distressed in this country, and you brought to bear your ability to face challenges wherever they arise. When Israel faced a hostile world alone and was attacked on all sides, you defended our people in its solitude, speaking out against the denial of its rights.
As our brother from afar you stretched out your hand to us in the nation’s difficult hours. When tragic news arrived from the streets of an ancient homeland, whose sons were shrouded in flames, you were the one to send words of solace and support, and for this many of us owe you a great debt and love you with all our hearts.
You urged us to be strong and you also sent a message of support to the students of the Netanya Academic College, which was established in the first Israeli town situated close to the divide, at Israel’s narrowest point, becoming the hardest-hit city during the intifadah war.
For all these, and for many more of your deeds which are too numerous to be listed here – the Academic Council and the administrative bodies managing the College have resolved to confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa and all its accompanying rights and privileges. We award you this degree on our behalf and on behalf of the many others joining in this festive occasion.