Israeli President Shimon Peres has announced that he will award U.S. President Barack Obama the Presidential Medal of Distinction during his upcoming visit, the Associated Press reported.
Peres’s office said it intends to honor Obama for his “unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens.”
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have sparred over important issues such as negotiations with the Palestinians, Iran, and Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. But Peres, a former two-time prime minister himself from the left-wing Labor party, intends to highlight Obama’s overall friendship with Israel and growing U.S.-Israel security cooperation, including American funding for the highly successful Iron Dome missile defense system that saved countless Israeli lives during last year’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
Obama, who last year awarded Peres with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, is scheduled to visit Israel during March, his first trip to the Jewish state as president.