President Shimon Peres paid tribute on Tuesday to outgoing Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer as the recipient of the Chaim Herzog Award for his unique contribution to Israel in the field of economics.

The award, established by Herzog’s family in conjunction with the Hebrew University and Yad Chaim Herzog, is presented every two years to a person who has made a unique contribution in fields related to the lifelong interests of Herzog who served as Israel’s sixth president.

At the award ceremony at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, Peres hailed Fischer as the man who saved Israel from bankruptcy.

In 1985, Peres, as prime minister, was leading a country with an inflation rate of 400 percent. US secretary of state George Schultz, an economist and former secretary of the US Treasury, recommended Fischer to solve his problems.

Peres confessed that he didn’t know enough about economics to argue with Fischer, so he followed his advice and was amazed to discover that things turned out as Fischer said they would.

“No one could have advised us better,” said Peres.

What was particularly admirable, Peres noted, was that Fischer had come to Israel’s rescue not once, but twice. In later years, he was already well established in the US, “but gave it all up for an Israeli salary” as the BoI governor in 2005. He will leave the position in June.

MK Isaac Herzog (Labor), who is one of Chaim Herzog’s four children – all of whom were present – said that when consideration was being given to this year’s award, the panel making the decision was faced with an impressive list of candidates, but the guiding thought was to give the award to someone deserving of the Israel Prize who had not received it.

In congratulating Fischer, Herzog said that he had demonstrated outstanding leadership in Israel’s most stormy times, and had put Israel on the map in places where it had never been before.

The award ceremony took place on the 16th anniversary of Herzog’s passing.

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