Peres - GPO
President Shimon Peres. Photo by GPO
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President Shimon Peres unveiled on Thursday a new medal of honor, awarded by Israel's president to individuals and organizations for their contribution to the State of Israel.

According to a statement released by the President's Office, the President’s Award will be bestowed upon 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 first recipients of the honor will be former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Judith Feld Carr, a Canadian-Jewish musician and human rights activist who helped smuggle thousands of Jews out of Syria; the Rashi Foundation, a non-governmental organization, Chabad Rabbi Adin Even Yisrael; conductor Zubin Mehta; and attorney Uri Slonim.

"I'm old enough to know that people are no less important than ideas," Peres said at a ceremony held on Thursday in honor of the recipients.

"The world has learned to say 'thank you,' and it's time that we also thank people of stature, people who set an example for the younger generation, so as to send a message that any person can be as great as his greatest action or thought," he said.

The award is apparently meant to be the Israeli version of the French Legion of Honor or the Order of Canada. The medal itself is a medallion designed by the Judaica artist Yossi Matityahu.

Both Israelis and non-Israelis are eligible to receive the award. An advisory committee working alongside the president will be charged with selecting nominees.