Solomon Seruya, a veteran Gibraltar political and business figure, and a leader of the Jewish community, has received Spain's highest civilian award, "La Gran Cruz del Merito Civil." Seruya received the award from Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos on behalf of King Juan Carlos last week, for his consistent calls for dialogue to resolve the status of Gibraltar, and because of his involvement in defending the interests of the Sephardic communities all over the world. Spain deeply appreciated Seruya's role in sustaining links between Gibraltar and the kingdom, and very grateful for his work in the Sephardic community, which from a historic and cultural perspective were very important for Spain, Moratinos said. Seruya is a well-known figure in Jerusalem, where he is usually known as Sol. Before making aliya in 1969, he was Tourism and Ports Minister in Gibraltar's government. He lived in Jerusalem till 1983, serving in a senior post in United Israel Appeal/Keren Hayesod and as ambassador to the Philippines. In 1981, he returned to Gibraltar to run his family's business, but he visits Israel regularly and has a home in Jerusalem. He has a married daughter who resides in Jerusalem.