“The United States is fortunate to have many allies and partners around the world. Of course, one of our strongest allies, and one of our closest friends, is the State of Israel," Obama said in his speech before he presented Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civic award in the U.S.. :"And no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance and bring our two nations closer as the leader we honor tonight—our friend, Shimon Peres.”
“In him we see the essence of Israel itself," Obama said of Peres. "an indomitable spirit that will not be denied.”
"To receive it is an honor. And to receive it from you, Mr. President, is a privilege that I shall cherish forever," Peres said after receiving the medal. "It is a testament to the historic friendship between our two nations. I receive this honor today on behalf of the People of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor. With this moving gesture, you are paying tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, and fought for, a State of their own. A state that would give them shelter. A state that they could defend. Mr. President, you are honoring the pioneers who built homes on barren mountains, on shifting sands. Fighters who sacrificed their lives for their country. On their behalf, I thank America for days of concern, for sleepless nights, caring for our safety, for our future."
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