The White House decided to award President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his singular achievements leading Israel and working for peace, but Peres is accepting the award on behalf of all Israelis.

“I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor,” Peres said upon receiving the award Wednesday night. “With this moving gesture, you are paying tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, fought for, a state of their own.”

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