President Shimon Peres created the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor to recognize those “who have made an outstanding contribution to the State of Israel or to humanity, through their talents, services, or in any other form.” The medal, designed by Yossi Matityahu, was awarded for the first time on March 1, 2012.
Originally it was awarded based on recommendations from a committee led by retired Supreme Court President Justice Meir Shamgar. President Reuven Rivlin disbanded the committee and did not award the medal during his term. President Isaac Herzog reestablished it under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court Justice Prof. Yoram Danziger and announced his intention to award it to U.S. President Joe Biden.
It was never intended for solely Israelis or Jews and has been awarded to Zubin Mehta, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Angela Merkel.
- Henry Kissinger, 2012
- Judith Feld Carr, 2012
- Rashi Foundation, 2012
- Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, 2012
- Zubin Mehta, 2012
- Ory Slonim, 2012
- Barack Obama, 2013
- Bill Clinton, 2013
- Elie Wiesel, 2013
- Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, 2014
- Lia Van Leer, 2014
- Avi Naor, 2014
- Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Firer, 2014
- Brig.-Gen. Avigdor Kahalani, 2014
- Avner Shalev, 2014
- Dr. Harry Zvi Tabor, 2014
- Jack Mahfar, 2014
- Angela Merkel, 2014
- Giorgio Napolitano, 2014
- Ruth Dayan, 2014
- Stef Wertheimer, 2014
- Kamal Mansour, 2014
- Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, 2014
- Prof. Reuven Feuerstein, 2014
- Joe Biden, 2022
Sources: Greer Fay Cashman, “Herzog revives President’s Medal of Distinction award,” Jerusalem Post, (April 19, 2022).
Lahav Harkov, “Joe Biden to receive Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor,” Jerusalem Post, (July 7, 2022).
“President Isaac Herzog will award the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor to U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during his visit to Israel next week,” Press Release, President of the State of Israel, (July 7, 2022).
“President’s Medal (Israel),” Wikipedia.