The American Jewish Committee has honored German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her outspoken support for Israel and the Jewish people as a whole.

The group's executive director David Harris on Thursday presented Merkel with its Light Unto the Nations Award at the chancellery in Berlin.

Harris says in a statement that "outspoken support for the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and the values of human freedom and human dignity are hallmarks of Chancellor Merkel's visionary political leadership."

Previous recipients include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, Germany has become one of Israel's strongest allies in Europe.