Trump to award Miriam Adelson highest civilian honor

The award was established by former US president John F. Kennedy and complements the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

November 10, 2018 22:34
2 minute read.
Miriam Adelson at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018

Miriam Adelson at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the “distinguished” Miriam Adelson, wife of Sheldon Adelson, his largest political donor.

The award is the nation’s highest civilian honor and is traditionally granted to individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The award was established by former US president John F. Kennedy and complements the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

“Miriam Adelson is a committed doctor, philanthropist and humanitarian,” the White House said. “She has practiced internal and emergency medicine, studied and specialized in the disease of narcotic addiction, and founded two research centers committed to fighting substance abuse. With her husband, Sheldon, she also established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness.

“As a committed member of the American-Jewish community, she has supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and Birthright Israel, among other causes,” the administration added.

The Adelsons donated $25 million to Trump’s presidential campaign efforts and $5 million to his inauguration, making the couple the largest donors in the 2016 election cycle. They have maintained a close relationship with the president, helping to convince him to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and, as recently as Tuesday, watching the midterm election returns from the White House residence.

The pair gave more than $100 million to Republicans in the midterm races.

She is publisher of the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom, which has provided Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with consistently favorable coverage.

Adelson is an Israeli American and was awarded honorary citizenship of Jerusalem in 2013.

Honorees are traditionally named in batches. In addition to Adelson, longtime Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, NFL veteran and justice Alan Page, NFL veteran Roger Staubach, baseball legend Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, and the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia will receive the award. The medal has been awarded posthumously before.

Reaction to Adelson’s honor focused on the president’s rare decision to award a figure primarily known for her political allegiances. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, honored at least one Israeli with the award: Shimon Peres, in 2012.

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