President Shimon Peres received the Golden Victoria award from a visiting
delegation of the German Magazine Publishers Association on
Dr. Rudolf Thiemann, a vice president of the association,
which includes 400 publishers, more than 6,000 magazine titles and 10,000
websites, led the four-person delegation. The winged gold statue, the
association’s highest award, is given to outstanding figures whose actions have
brought positive change to the world.
Thiemann declared Peres to be one
of the most widely recognized and esteemed political figures in the world,
serving the causes of peace in the Middle East and reconciliation with Germany.
Peres was not only a great political figure, but also a leading figure in
business, as demonstrated in the foreword that he wrote for the internationally
best-selling book Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,
The association works closely with Israel in various
spheres, including organizing tours to Israel, he said, adding that the
association was inspired by the strength of Israel, the spirit of its people and
its creativity, “which does not come from size but from the magnitude of
The Golden Victoria award is traditionally presented at the
association’s annual convention in the German capital, but since Peres was
unable to be there in October, Berlin came to Jerusalem, and the award was
presented to him at his official residence.
“I promise your spirit will
be in Berlin in October,” Thiemann told the president.
In accepting the
life achievement award, Peres said that he regarded it more as a prize for the
people of Israel. The People of the Book have more pages than kilometers, said
Books have always been part of the Jewish existence, even when the
Jewish people lost their land and through the most difficult of
The delegation was interested in getting Peres’s views on social
media, freedom of the press and relations with Germany.
expressed admiration for the degree of freedom of the press in Israel and
observed that “sometimes the press is very rough,” even with Peres.
acknowledged that social media is a significant and often-positive force for
change, forecasting that as “a fresh wind to history,” it will play a major role
in bringing about change in the region as everincreasing numbers of young people
go online. He said, however, that his preference was for books, which had
contributed significantly to the Israeli-German dialogue, as German books were
translated into Hebrew and Hebrew books were translated into German.
expressed appreciation for all the support that Germany has given to Israel and
which it continues to give to the peace process between Israel and the
Palestinians. There is particularly close cooperation between Germany and Israel
in science and technology, he said.
When one of the members of the
delegation wanted to know what Germany could learn from Israel’s “innovation
culture,” Peres replied: “the greatness of being poor materially and trying to
enrich ourselves humanly.” He explained that because Israel was lacking in
natural resources, surrounded by enemies, and outnumbered and outgunned, it had
no alternative but to look inwards, and it discovered a treasure hidden in the
“Israel has not enriched the people; the people have
enriched the land,” Peres said.