This is a photograph taken at the time I flew as President of Ben Gurion University to South Africa in order to award President Mandela an honorary doctorate. The ceremony took place in Cape Town 1997 with the participation of more than a dozen Vice-Chancellors from South African Universities and the local Jewish Leadership.
When I met Mr Mandela I was spiritually elevated, there is something in his presence that you feel the wisdom of his heart, without the need of words. The ceremony was incredible, President Mandela talked about the need for peace with Israel's Arab neighbors and the uniqueness of Ben Gurion University as a centre of excellence “which represents the best in the traditions of the Jewish people: a sense of mission; internationalism; inventiveness.”
To conclude the ceremony a choir of blind women were invited to sing. After they started singing President Mandela began to dance, I immediately joined him and we kept on for about 15 minutes. All the room was suddenly filled with joy and love, I felt as if the roof was elevated and I experienced one of the most remarkable moments of my life.
I was strongly influenced by Mr Mandela and a few years ago I decided to enter politics with Mr Mandela being my role model. For me, Mr Mandela symbolises enlightened political leadership that is so scarce in the world today that is in danger of disintegration. Politics today shouldn't be about advancing one's own personal aspirations, but rather about serving the people, our future generations and the planet, just like Mr Mandela did in South Africa.
Quote: "I decided to enter politics with Mr. Mandela being my role model."