(JTA) – The American Jewish Committee presented its Moral Courage Award to B.G. Willison, an American citizen who rescued Lea Kovensky, a survivor of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, as well as other injured victims.
Willison, then a 24-year-old U.S. Marine stationed in Argentina, was off duty at a café when he heard the explosion and ran to the scene.
“Invisible to your eyes but visible in my heart, survivors and their families stand next to me. We became one 25 years ago,” said Kovensky, a secretary at the embassy who traveled from Buenos Aires to Washington for the award presentation on Monday.
“Lea has done more for me that I could have for her,” said Willison, who said he keeps a photo of Kovensky in his office “to remind me what courage, resilience, and strength look like.”
The presentation was made at the AJC Global Forum World Leaders Plenary in Washington. Speakers at the event included the presidents of Cyprus and Romania, the foreign minister of Singapore and Israeli government minister Gilad Erdan.
Willison, who recently visited Buenos Aires for the 25th anniversary of the bombing, declared that “the Jewish community in Argentina is strong. I now feel part of it.” He also called for preserving the memory of those killed “to ensure future generations know of this historical event, so we can stop terrorism.”
The 1992 bombing left 29 dead and wounded more than 200. Argentina has accused Iran of complicity in the attack and a second deadly bombing in 1994 of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Both attacks officially remain unresolved.
The AJC Global Forum, taking place June 4-6, in Washington, is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries.