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May 21, 2014
AYOTTE, BENNET APPLAUD PASSAGE OF RESOLUTION TO AWARD ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES WITH CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
Measure Honors Peres’ Role in ‘Forging the Strong and Unbreakable Bond between the United States and Israel’
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) today announced Congress has passed bipartisan legislation they introduced to award Israeli President Shimon Peres with a Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed both chambers unanimously this week and now goes to the president to be signed into law. Once the bill is enacted, President Peres would be the first sitting President of Israel to receive this prestigious award.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the United States and is awarded to individuals, organizations, or events that have made a tremendous contribution to the history and culture of our country.
“Israel is our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East, and this legislation demonstrates that the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel,” said Senator Ayotte. “This legislation is a fitting way to honor President Peres’ extraordinary record of service that has strengthened the unbreakable bond between our two nations, and I hope the president will soon sign it into law.”
“President Peres’ leadership has helped strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Israel,” Senator Bennet said. “He is deserving of this recognition, and his career will continue to serve as an example to the next generation’s leaders as our countries continue to pursue a shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and rule of law.”
Ayotte and Bennet introduced the legislation in August, coinciding with the 65th anniversary of the founding of Israel and President Peres’ 90th birthday. Congressmen Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) cosponsored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
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 will celebrate his 91st birthday on Saturday, August 2.
About the Congressional Gold Medal
Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.