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British cabinet minister David Blunkett, who is blind, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Haifa in recognition of his "steadfast devotion to values of social responsibility." Blunkett, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was also cited for his "longstanding activity in advancing education, on the one hand, and in combating terror and crime, on the other." The award was presented by the University of Haifa President, Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, at a ceremony in London last week that was attended by representatives of Britain's business, industrial and religious communities.
Among the guests were Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Kalms, former chairman of one of Britain and Europe's largest electrical/electronic outlets, Lord Anthony Jacobs, past chairman of the university's board of governors, and Sir Maurice Hatter, who is a deputy chairman of the university's board.
Members of the British Friends of the University of Haifa and others, who played a prominent role in helping cancel Britain's Association of University Teachers' boycott of the Israeli institution, also attended the gala event.
"David Blunkett, against all odds, has attained impressive achievement in his continuing professional activity promoting the welfare of the community," said Prof. Ben-Ze'ev at the presentation ceremony.
In addition to Ben-Ze'ev, the University of Haifa was represented by its Rector, Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi, and Vice-President Prof. Ada Spitzer.