We have discussed several times the connections between music and politics.

Check out who the recipients of the presidential award of distinction given out by the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, this week, are. They include former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Henry Kissinger, attorney Uri Slonim, human rights activist Judy Feld Carr and celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta. The recipients were selected by a special advisory committee chaired by former Chief Justice Meir Shamgar and former Israeli President Yitzhak Navon.

The committee selected Kissinger because of his long and influential political career, citing him for being a man of foresight, creativity and vision. As an academic, political scientist and diplomat, Kissinger was praised for his unique contributions to Israel and for his efforts to achieve Middle Eastern peace during his time as U.S. national security advisor and U.S. secretary of state.

Zubin Mehta, the music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, was selected because of his unique contribution to the world of Israeli music. Mehta received the Israel Prize in 1991 and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006.

Uri Slonim was awarded the order for his charitable causes and his role as the president of Variety Israel, a nonprofit organization geared towards aiding children with special needs. Slonim was also cited for his ongoing role on behalf of Israel in negotiations aimed at releasing Israeli prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.

Canadian-born Feld Carr was selected for her human rights initiatives and for helping the escape of Jews out of Syria. Since she began her humanitarian efforts in 1973, Feld Carr has been successful in smuggling roughly 4,000 Jews out of Syria. Feld Carr is also a recipient of the Order of Canada, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and a humanitarian award of merit from the University of Haifa.