Israeli President Shimon Peres is to receive a congressional gold medal June 26 in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.
The congressional gold medal is in honor of Peres’ maintenance of strong bilateral relations between Israel and the United States, beginning in the days of President John F. Kennedy when Peres served as Israel’s deputy defense minister.
Peres has served as Israel’s president since July 15, 2007. Peres also has served as Israel’s prime minister three separate times, as well as serving stints as minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, minister of finance, and minister of transportation.
Peres, 90, is stepping down as Israel’s president at the end of June, ending a political career spanning more than six decades.
Also on June 26, Peres is to receive the 2014 Lantos Human Rights Prize. The prize is awarded by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. The prize and foundation are named after the late California congressman Tom Lantos, who died in 2008 following 14 terms. Lantos is the only Holocaust survivor to have served in Congress.
The legislation authorizing the medal, H.R. 2939 — approved by the House on May 19, 2014 — was introduced Aug. 1, 2013, by Rep. Joseph Kennedy, D-Mass. The measure passed the Senate on May 20, 2014, and was forwarded to President Obama on May 30 for his signature.
The president signed the legislation into law on June 9, a week after the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommended designs in separate telephone votes. Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, acting on behalf of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, gave her final approval to the designs June 11.
The Peres medal’s obverse depicts a portrait of the president against Israel’s flag. The design was created and sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II.
The approved reverse, depicting a dove in flight with an olive branch in its beak, was designed and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Joseph F. Menna.
Bronze duplicates of the gold medal are to be offered by the United States Mint.
The Mint will release images of the medal after the presentation ceremony.