Senate Unanimously Passes Bennet-Ayotte Bill 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'

The Senate on Thursday evening passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) to award Israeli President Shimon Peres with a Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now awaits passage by the House of Representatives.  If 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.

“In a world that is more complicated than ever, President Peres’ leadership has helped strengthen a U.S.-Israel relationship forged by our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and rule of law. His career will serve as a beacon for the next generation of leaders,” said Senator Bennet. “We are pleased to celebrate and honor President Peres as one of Israel’s most dedicated public servants.”

“I’m pleased to honor President Peres’ extraordinary record of service that has strengthened the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East,” said Senator Ayotte.  “This legislation demonstrates that the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel in these uncertain times.”

“This is truly historic. The Senate’s approval of this legislation sends a very strong message to the world that the U.S. reaffirms its unbreakable bond with the State of Israel. This unique recognition of the President of the State of Israel symbolizes the essence of the U.S.-Israel relationship," said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, which was instrumental in creating the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration Committee. "I applaud Senator Ayotte and Senator Bennet for leading this bipartisan effort.”

Bennet and Ayotte 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) are cosponsoring companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

To read a copy of the resolution, please click here.


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.