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In this period of Israel's history, where the grand aspects of the young state have been increasingly overshadowed by the more mundane bickering and infighting marking most political systems, the death of 94-year old President Yitzhak Navon this past Thursday has brought a sadness to us all.

Mine is a warm sadness, the warmth reflecting the way he had come to stand for decency, non-partisan symbolic leadership, and a love of and for people that marked his leadership role, whether as president, minister, or counsel. We at Melton remember his agreeing to attend our first Spain-Israel seminar, and his entrance into the room at the Inbal Hotel a day after his ninetieth birthday in full stride and with a clear and comprehensive view of Sefarad and its contribution to Jewish culture and history which he shared with us that day.

It was on our behalf, therefore, that I went on Sunday morning to pay my respects as another one of the ordinary Israelis regarding whom he always spoke with the respect of someone who valued each person before examining their pedigree, in the awareness that we are all the descendants of "Adam Harishon" and therefore all created "in the image"...

May his memory be for a blessing to us all; may all his successors take a page out of the book of his life and try to emulate him as they lead us in the future...

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