President Shimon Peres on Wednesday honored the 42nd president of the United
States Bill Clinton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, stating that the
"two-state solution is your gift to Israel."
The President’s Medal of
Distinction is awarded to exceptional individuals who have made outstanding
contributions to the State of Israel or to humanity, through their talents,
services or any other means.
At the fifth Presidential Conference in
Jerusalem, Peres told Clinton: "Your work laid the foundations which will one
day bring peace to our region – the two state solution." Peres addressed the
crowd, and his former counterpart, opening his speech stating: "My dearest
friend President Bill Clinton - and when I call you my friend I know that I
speak for the entire people of Israel." "Your unwavering commitment to the
Jewish People and your moving support for Israel will always be cherished by
each and every one of us," Peres said.
Awarding Clinton with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, he said: "Through this modest gesture, the
entirety of my country and my people thank you for your support, for your care,
for your friendship. Toda rabba, Bill. God bless you," he
Responding to his award, Clinton stated: "There are no perfect
solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict." Clinton said although there are no
perfect solutions, the "key is to expand the definition of 'us' and shrink
definition of 'them.'" Clinton's empowering speech moved the whole audience as
its conclusion received a standing ovation as he left the stage to thundering
At the opening address earlier in the day, Peres told a full
auditorium that a nation "needs a majority to do the right thing." In his
opening address, Peres was received to a standing ovation.
He stated that
a nation "needs a majority to do the right thing, but a minority can do the
"Leaders today should not lead, they should agree to be lead by
the people," Peres said.
He added that a leader has to "enhance the capacity of
the people to express their deep worries."