Both President Shimon Peres and Barkat paid tribue to Birger. Peres said other than Teddy Kolik, no-one had made a greater contribution to Jerusalem.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.Birger had 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 Jerusalem.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 an award.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.