Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced on Sunday the recipients of the 2023 Presidential Medal of Honor, marking the 75th year of Israel’s Independence. The Presidential Medal of Honor is awarded to those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and all humanity. The decoration will be awarded to the recipients in a festive ceremony that will be held at the President's Residence this coming September.
This year, as mentioned, on the occasion of the 75th year of the State of Israel, it was decided to award the prize to a wide variety of 13 people active in various fields in Israel and in the Diaspora. Among the recipients are eight men, five women, one organization, and two leaders from the Diaspora. The ages of the recipients range from 35-102. According to the President's office, they embody the diverse and vibrant Israeli and Jewish mosaic.
The prize will be awarded to musician Chava Alberstein, social entrepreneur Adi Altschuler, Professor Meir Buzaglo, Rabbi Menachem HaCohen, Professor Mona Khoury, Maj. Gen. (res.) Dan Tolkowsky, journalist Carmela Menashe, soccer player Bibras Natcho, educator Dr. Assad Araidy, and social entrepreneur Lena Shtern for their contribution to the state of Israel.
In addition, the President will award the prize to Kemach – Promoting Haredi Employment, for its unique contribution to the State of Israel.
Moroccan statesman André Azoulay and international law professor Irwin Cotler will also receive the award for their contribution to the Jewish People.
The Presidential Medal of Honor was an initiative of the Ninth President of the State of Israel, the late Shimon Peres, and was awarded for the first time in 2012. Until President Isaac Herzog took office, the Medal was awarded to 26 recipients on the recommendation of an advisory committee headed by the retired president of the Supreme Court, the late Meir Shamgar.
Upon taking office, President Herzog established a new advisory committee chaired by Supreme Court Judge (retired) Professor Yoram Danziger to recommend candidates for the award. Since taking office, the President has awarded the Medal to personalities from Israel and abroad, including the President of the United States, Joe Biden, then President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, then President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman, the poet Rachel Shapira, among other individuals who have made a unique contribution in their field.
The President instructed the committee to put forward various proposals from all parts of Israeli society, including Jewish leaders from the Diaspora. The President personally called the recipients and informed them of their award. The advisory committee decided that the Medal would not be awarded to those who have previously received the Israel Prize.