President Barack Obama is presenting Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Medal of Freedom, calling him the essence of Israel itself.
Obama says Peres knows the necessity of strength but also understands that a nation's security depends on the righteousness of its deeds.
Peres is Israel's ninth president and is a former prime minister of the Jewish state. His Washington visit comes at amid rising violence in Syria and worries in the U.S. and Israel about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Obama reassured Peres that the bonds between Washington and Tel Aviv are unbreakable and that the security of Israel is not negotiable.
Among those attending the White House dinner were Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
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