President Shimon Peres
announced on Thursday the names of the winners of Israel’s Presidential Medal.
According to the president’s office, 2013 recipients will include: Brigadier General (Res.) Avigdor Kahalani,
Professor Elie Wiesel,
filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Rabbi Elimelech Firer.
The committee deciding the medal recipients included dignitaries such as former Supreme Court President Meir Shamger, who headed the committee, and Israel's fifth president Yitzhak Navon.
Regarding Kahalani, the announcement stated that he had "won the Presidential Medal for his courage, leadership in the battlefield, contribution to the defense of the State of Israel,
being a role model for thousands of teens regarding the willingness to carry the burden of State security, and public activity for IDF
soldiers and officers."
"Kahalani, carrying badges of honor, which he received for the bravery he exhibited during the Six Day War
and the Yom Kippur War
, is an extraordinary Israeli
icon, due to both his personality and his actions, and is a soldier and a leader who is always at the top and serves as an outstanding role model for his soldiers, his subordinates and his nation."
Avigdor Kahalani with President Peres (Photo: Yosef Avi Yair Engel)
The statement added that "In the Yom Kippur War, (Kahalani) was appointed officer in harsh battles against the enemy, and courageously led the force that managed, along with many others, to stop the Syrian
army from invading the area of the Kinneret… Since then and until today Kahalani has been working tirelessly for the good of IDF soldiers, defense establishment and the State of Israel."
Professor Elie Wiesel will also be awarded the medal, for "making his mark on all humanity, as his international public activity uniquely contributed to the commemoration of the legacy of the Holocaust
and to the promotion of a message of peace and dignity to the entire world," the announcement noted.
Wiesel has published over 40 books and was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1986.
Elie Wiesel (Photo: AP)
Film director Stephen Spielberg was also on the list of Presidential Medal recipients, "for his 50-year work in the film industry and his unique contribution the memorializing of the Holocaust, including the film 'Schindler's List," one of the most important and most influential Holocaust film in the world," the committee wrote.
Regarding Rabbi Elimelech Firer, the committee noted he had "formed a medical assistance system… and is known as someone who acquired vast medical knowledge and has become someone any sick person can turn to."
One of the recipients whose identity cannot be revealed is a representative of security forces.
Dr. Tzvi Tavor, cofounder of the National Physical Laboratory of Israel, supported by David Ben Gurion, was awarded the medal for being a "groundbreaking researcher in the field of solar energy.
In his inventions he contributed to Israel's economic… independence… and brought forth scientific and technological developments.
The Presidential Medal is awarded to people and organizations that have contributed to the welfare of the world's population or the Israeli society.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop