(photo credit: LIORA KOGAN / KEREN HAYESOD)
Former US President George W. Bush accepted an award for his commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, presented by the international leadership of Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal last week.
Bush received the Isaiah Award at a ceremony held at the biannual International Leadership Reunion Conference in Toronto. He was honored for his economic, diplomatic and security cooperation with Israel during his time as president.
Former recipients of the award include former US President Bill Clinton and late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The Prize was awarded by 2015 Isaiah Award recipient Mikhael Mirilashvili who serves as vice president of the World Jewish Congress, president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and is one of the key supporters of Keren Hayesod.
Along with the Prize, Mirilashvili gave the former president a Hebrew Bible and repeated the traditional Priests Blessing: "May God bless you and keep you; May God make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May God turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Bush thanked his hosts for the award and participated in a panel led by Canadian Senator Linda Frum, where he spoke about the political situation in the Middle East and the current challenges facing the US and Israel.
According to a participant at the event, Bush spoke about the nuclear deal with Iran, expressing his strong opposition to the agreement, saying he would never have signed it; he described Iran as the most destabilizing factor in the Middle East. Addressing US-Israel relations he reportedly said that the US president should back Israel unconditionally.
Other guests at the conference included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former prime minister Stephen Harper.
The president of Keren Hayesod in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries Alexander Mashkevitch, joined Mirilashvili in honoring Bush.
Both men were the recipients of a new Keren Hayesod prize called the "Jerusalem Defender's Award," which acknowledges efforts to reinforce Jerusalem's status in the international arena as the capital of Israel. Bush attended the ceremony in which Mirilashvili and Mashkevich received the prize.