Both President Shimon Peres and Barkat paid tribue to Birger. Peres said other
than Teddy Kolik, no-one had made a greater contribution to
Birger had turned the city into the "capital of the book."
Barakat said that "it was strange and difficult to open the book fair without
him, first as its director, then as chairman, for 30 years.
taken a small fair and transferred it into one of the biggest and most important
fairs in the world, said Barakat.
Retired for Supreme Court Justice Daila
Dawner, who headed the jury, who had selected Molina for the prize, described
him as "the most outstanding among the most outstanding." He preserves
historical memory in numerous ways, he said, and does not hesitate to wonder
among different literary genres and subjects. The jury had been particularly
impressed by the sympathy he impressed for exiles, "which makes him one of the
most important authors of our time." "We have been struck by his depth of
morality, his humanism and his intellecutalism." Peres confessed that he had
been almost moved to tears when reading Molinas book, especially the chapter
entitled "Those that wait" which presents so many indepth unanswered questions
about our lives.
Barakat said that his writing expressed tolerance and
freedom of the individual, and touched the compelxity of the soul. He thanked
Molina for resisting pressures urging for him not to come to
Morina was almost embarrased to be delivering the speech in
public, because writing is a solitary occupation. He thanked the translators for
making his work available to a Hebrew readership, saying that they also deserved
Stressing the significance of literature both to writer and
reader, Molina said it was important for parents and teachers to pass on to
children a love for the written word.