A woman who runs the Israeli equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh awards for Israeli youth of all religions has been given an honorary MBE.
British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould announced Aviva Ben Raphael’s award at an annual ceremony marking the achievements of 200 young Israelis on the Israel Youth Awards scheme.
The Youth Awards, of which Ms Ben Raphael is the director, includes Israelis aged 14 to 25 from Muslim, Bedouin and Christian and Jewish communities.
Mr Gould said the MBE was a tribute to Ms Ben Raphael’s services to to UK-Israel relations and youth links.
He said: “We are recognising someone special. Someone who has given for many years her heart and her soul to the Israel Youth Awards. Someone who through their actions and their attitude and the love with which they do their job embodies the spirit of those awards.
Describing Ms Ben Raphael as someone “widely loved and admired” by colleagues, he added: “It gives me enormous pleasure to award you with this rather beautiful medal which makes you an honorary member of the Order of the British Empire.”
The ambassador also addressed the Youth Awards recipients, all of whom had achieved the top “gold” level. He said: “You have shown self-belief, because you can’t win the gold unless you really believe in yourself.”