Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel to get Israeli presidential medal

Steven Spielberg. Credit: Romain DUBOIS via Wikimedia Commons.

 ( Israeli President Shimon Peres will award his Presidential Medal of Distinction to a group of seven recipients that includes film director Steven Spielberg and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

Peres’s office said in a statement that it is honoring Spielberg “for his contribution to cinema over the past 50 years and specifically his unique contribution to the memory of the Holocaust, to the State of Israel, to the Jewish people and Tikkun Olam.”

Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, world-renowned author, and human rights activist, is being honored for his efforts “to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust across the world.”

The other recipients include Dr. Zvi Tabor, founder of the National Physical Laboratory of Israel; IDF Brig. General (res.) Avigdor Kahalani, a hero of the Yom Kippur War; Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Firer, founder of Ezra LeMarpeh, a non-profit organization that provides medical assistance to the needy; Avi Naor, a former executive at AMDOCS and founder of Or Yarok, a traffic safety organization; and an anonymous member of Israel’s security services.

Previous winners of the award, which is equivalent to the America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom or France’s Légion d’Honneur, have included Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and composer Zubin Mehta.

Posted on September 12, 2013 .