Hungarian Government Honors Bar-Ilan University President

Recognized for his 'manifold and committed activities to strengthen Hungarian-Israeli academic and social relations'.

Mordechai Sones ,

Minister Daniel Hershkowitz
Minister Daniel Hershkowitz
Flash 90

Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary Zsolt Semjén has awarded a high state decoration to Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz. Hershkowitz, a former Israeli Minister of Science and Technology, was recognized for his "manifold and committed activities to strengthen Hungarian-Israeli academic and social relations". The honor was bestowed in a ceremony at the Parliament Building in Budapest.

Upon the recommendation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, President of the Republic János Áder conferred the decoration Hungarian Order of Merit, Officer's Cross, upon Hershkowitz, of Hungarian descent, who serves as Honorary President of the Hungarian-Israeli Scientific Society.

"As the President of Bar-Ilan University, Prof. Hershkowitz is working towards the establishment of high-level scientific and social relations between the homeland of his parents and grandparents and Israel," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. "In order to promote these, he played an active role in the establishment of the Hungarian-Israeli Scientific Society, which seeks to create a professional and cultural forum for Israeli researchers of Hungarian decent. As the Honorary President of the Society, his activities are characterized by an ongoing desire for, and support of, the development of bilateral social relations."

In accepting the honor, Prof. Hershkowitz spoke in Hungarian. "I am standing here today, in the Hungarian parliament, in one of the most emotional events I have ever experienced. I am a son of two Holocaust survivors. My mother grew up in Budapest, and my father in the Hungarian part of Transylvania, near Deesz. Seventy-two years ago they were expelled from here. My father was in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, my mother in Bergen-Belsen. From there they made their way to Palestine, to our ancient homeland, and took part in building the Jewish state of Israel. And here I am today, receiving from Hungary this extraordinary decoration."

Hershkowitz continued, "Can one build a joint future, after such a past? I strongly believe that Hungary and Israel are doing it today, in stepping together and cooperating in developing science and technology for the benefit of a better world. I see the honor bestowed upon me today as a token of appreciation for my humble part in advancing this cooperation."

In thanking the Hungarian parliament and government for the honor, Hershkowitz extended special acknowledgment to the Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Andor Nagy, a close friend and partner in promoting Israel-Hungary relations.

Later this week, Hershkowitz will serve as a keynote speaker at a major annual innovation conference in Budapest known as think.BDPST. Last week he accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on his trip to China, and participated in the opening ceremony of a Sino-Israel Center for Jewish Studies, a joint project between Bar-Ilan University's Asia Desk and Nanjing University.