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Committee's Private Reception with President Peres

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Exclusive reception was held in conjunction with the official Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
Yesterday afternoon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, an exclusive reception was held in conjunction with the official Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony taking place today that will be presenting President Shimon Peres of Israel with the Congressional Gold Medal. The reception honored the Chairman, Lee Samson, and the co-chair, Robert Rechnitz, of the Shimon Peres Gold Medal Commemoration Committee and founder and chairman of both the Jerusalem Conference and Iron Dome Tribute by presenting them both with the US-Israel Advocacy Leadership Award. This award recognizes their role of stewardship and in sustaining the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel.

The event included the participation of President Peres and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who introduced the legislation to award Peres a Gold Medal to Congress. In attendance were also Rep. Trent Franks(R-AZ) who presented the Peres legislation to the House, Margot Beausey, representing Senator Bennett, who also introduced Peres legislation, Senator Tim Scott, Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Chakka Fattah(D-PA) as well as former CIA Director James Woolsey.

“President Peres’ extraordinary record of service has helped strengthen the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, our closest and most stalwart ally in the Middle East,” said Senator Ayotte.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian decoration in the United States, awarded to an individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States. This Congressional Gold Medal would be the first awarded to a sitting President of Israel.

“The intent and goal of the legislative process awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to President Peres which will culminate in the Ceremony itself is to send a strong message to the world that the Congress of the United States by virtue of 2/3 of its members co-sponsoring the legislation stands shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel” says Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group who spearheaded the creation of the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Committee.

Ron Plotnik who was instrumental in successful advocating for the Peres legislation to pass started out yesterday’s reception to honor Lee Sampson and Robert Rechnitz. He introduced the International Chairman of the Shimon Peres Gold Medal Committee, Hassan Ali bin Ali. Hassan is also the Chairman of the Hassan Ali Bin Ali Establishment, and a leading member of groups dedicated to sports and disability, serving as a member of the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee.

Robert Rechnitz, who was being honored, delivered an address. Along with serving as the co-chair of the Shimon Peres Gold Medal Committee, Rechnitz is the founder of the Los Angeles-based Bomel Companies and, most recently, Bomel Israel, Ltd. In addition to his work in business, Robert Rechnitz is also involved in many global philanthropy projects, mainly ones involving Israel and the Jewish community.

Simon Falic introduced Senator Ayotte, who acknowledged the efforts of Hassan Ali bin Ali, Lee Sampson, Robert Rechnitz, Simon Falic, and Ezra Friedlander. She also recognized Jack Avital, an Isreali, who is the President of the Sephardic-Syrian community and has been an advocate in bringing together diverse communities. All these individuals were actively involved in the Shimon Peres Gold Medal Committee and advocating for Shimon Peres to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Both President Peres and Senator Ayotte presented Robert Rechnitz and Lee Samson with the US-Israel Advocacy Leadership Award and the reception ended with remarks by President Peres.

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In recognition of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ work and leadership, Members of the US Congress introduced legislation to award the President Peres the Congressional Gold Medal.
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