Israel's Isaac Herzog awards Medal of Honor to Cypriot counterpart

Herzog praised Nicos Anastasiades for his vision, cooperation, understanding and courage, called him “ a true democrat and great leader."

 President Issac Herzog awards Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades with a Presidential Medal of Honor on November 9, 2022 (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
President Issac Herzog awards Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades with a Presidential Medal of Honor on November 9, 2022
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog awarded the Medal of Honor to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday.

Contrary to the practice of Shimon Peres, who initiated the Presidential Medal of Distinction – later renamed the Medal of Honor by Herzog – it is now awarded in single-person ceremonies.  

Peres generally hosted a ceremony in which several people – both Israeli and non-Israeli received the award, but Herzog has so far conferred one at a time, and only to non-Israelis.

The first recipient was Czech President Milos Zeman, to whom Herzog presented the medal during his state visit to the Czech Republic in July. The second, a few days later, was to US President Joe Biden during the latter’s visit to Israel in July.

Shortly afterward, Herzog received the official results of the elections to the 25th Knesset and began his round of consultations with political party delegations.

 President Issac Herzog awards Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades with a Presidential Medal of Honor on November 9, 2022 (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO) President Issac Herzog awards Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades with a Presidential Medal of Honor on November 9, 2022 (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

Peres did occasionally award the medal to one person at a time – most notably to then US President Barak Obama and to Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Holocaust survivor writer and professor Elie Wiesel.

Another recipient at a much more public event was former US President Bill Clinton, who was presented with the medal during Peres’s 90th birthday gala in 2013.

Herzog says Cypriot counterpart a "true democrat"

At the ceremony, Herzog praised Anastasiades for his vision, cooperation, understanding and courage, called him “ a true democrat and great leader” and credited him with playing a paramount role in advancing a new spirit of unity in the region.

Both presidents spoke of the importance of the joint alliance between their countries and Greece, especially in the field of energy.

When Herzog visited Cyprus last March, Anastasiades conferred on him the Grand Collar of the  Order of Makarios III, the highest civilian honor in Cyprus.

Anastasiades saw the mutual conferring of medals as “shining examples of the unbreakable links between our two countries and peoples.”

He emphasized that the partnership between Cyprus and Israel is manifested in tangible projects: in defense, emergency response to energy, innovation, culture, healthcare and diaspora relations.

Anastasiades noted Herzog’s “critical devotion” to the Jewish Diaspora during the period in which he served as chairman of the Jewish Agency.

As for the future, Anastasiades spoke of including other countries in the region in cooperative  ventures emphasizing “the regional cooperation nexus is neither exclusionary nor exclusive.”