On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the founding of Israel and the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to honor President Shimon Peres of Israel with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States. It is awarded to individuals, organizations, or events that have made a tremendous contribution to the history and culture of our country.
“President Peres’s extraordinary record of service has helped strengthen the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, our closest and most stalwart ally in the Middle East,” said Senator Ayotte. “As we mark the 65th anniversary of Israel’s founding and the 90th birthday of one of Israel’s great leaders, this legislation demonstrates that the people of Israel and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of extraordinarily uncertain times.”
“Shimon Peres embodies the very best of a U.S.—Israel relationship forged by our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and rule of law,” said Senator Bennet. “In a world that today is more complicated than ever, President Peres’s historic career will serve as a beacon for the next generation of leaders. This bill celebrates and honors his leadership as one of Israel’s most dedicated public servants.”
“For over 70 years President Shimon Peres has dedicated himself to the enduring bond that unites Israel and the United States,” said Congressman Kennedy. “There has been no greater champion for our shared values and defender of our shared interests. In recognition of his tireless efforts and of the friendship embedded deeply between our two countries, I am honored to join my colleagues in offering this resolution today.”
“President Shimon Peres has embodied a commitment to the mutual values shared by the United States and Israel–values that include the preservation of life, faith, family, and freedom,” said Congressman Franks. “As a figure instrumental in deepening U.S.—Israeli relations, Peres’s lifelong dedication to these foundational principles, as well as his steadfast dedication to making the world a safer place from the sort of hateful ideologies that lead to terrorism, more than warrants his receiving a Congressional Gold Medal.”
“I welcome the initiative by Senators Kelly Ayotte and Michael Bennet and Representatives Trent Franks and Joe Kennedy to bestow Israeli President Shimon Peres with a Congressional Gold Medal,” said Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. “President Peres has inspired generations of Americans and Israelis with his optimism and dedication to peace, and this award would be another testimony to the deep and unwavering relationship between our countries.”
Rabbi David Baron, spiritual leader of Temple of the Arts and chair of the Clergy Cabinet of the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration Committee, said, “President Peres’s achievements as a global statesman reinforce the core American value of preserving liberty and freedom for all people.”
“Shimon Peres is a symbol of the bridge that defines the U.S.—Israel relationship,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, which was instrumental in creating the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration Committee. “Honoring President Peres with the Congressional Gold Medal is an acknowledgment of the role that Congress played in the development of the U.S.—Israel relationship since its establishment 65 years ago.”
This Congressional Gold Medal would be the first awarded to a sitting president of Israel.
Shimon Peres was born in Poland in 1923 and his family emigrated to Tel Aviv in 1934. Peres went on to serve in several high-level cabinet positions in the Israeli government, including as Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister, and Prime Minister–a career in public service that spans over 70 years. A member of Israel’s founding generation, he was elected president in 2007. He celebrated his 90th birthday on August 2. v