The HFX John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service Presented to the People of Israel - Halifax
The HFX John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service Presented to the People of Israel
November 18, 2023


HALIFAX, NS – Peter Van Praagh, President of HFX, awarded the HFX John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service today to the People of Israel.

The Prize was presented at the 15th annual Halifax International Security Forum – an event that Senator McCain long supported and promoted.

“Since its founding in 1948, the State of Israel has been a beacon of democracy in the Middle East,” said Van Praagh. “After World War Two, leaders understood that a Jewish national home was necessary to keep Jews safe from endless efforts to annihilate them. Building and strengthening the only democracy in the Middle East has allowed Israel to survive and thrive as a nation.”

“On the 75th anniversary of Israel’s creation, and in the aftermath of the October 7th terrorist attack that resulted in the greatest loss of life to the Jewish people since the Holocaust, it is fitting to present the People of Israel with an award that bears Senator McCain’s name,” said Van Praagh.

The Prize was accepted by a representative of Achim Laneshek – “Brothers and Sisters in Arms” – a non-governmental organization of reserve men and women from units in the Israeli Defense Forces, founded to protest the judicial reforms proposed by the Netanyahu government. Since October 7th, Achim Laneshek has focused its activities on providing aid and relief to many communities all over Israel.

“After the horrendous attack on Israel, we put politics aside and immediately came to the aid of our fellow citizens,” said Eyal Nave, a representative from Achim Laneshek. “Democracy is fragile. It requires constant vigilance and attention. We are a team of action so when the people of Israel needed us the most, we answered the call.”

“Members of Achim Laneshek have gone from demonstrating for democracy in the streets to demonstrating their commitment to democracy by mobilizing to assist the country’s fight against terrorism,” concluded Van Praagh. “They do great justice to the spirit of John McCain and are very worthy to accept the prize on behalf of the People of Israel.”

HFX is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC. Halifax International Security Forum is made possible by the generous support from its partners, including the Government of Canada and Club HFX.


For more information, please contact:

Robin MacLachlan: or (613) 294-6128

To register for media accreditation: Please direct other inquiries to:

Follow @HFXForum for regular updates, quotes and pictures from the plenary floor. Be sure to take part in the conversation by using the hashtag #HFX2023.

Like the HFX Facebook page and follow the Forum’s proceedings over Facebook Live.

Live stream the plenaries as they happen on the HFX website. Watch live or catch up on sessions you miss on our YouTube channel.