Former President Donald Trump received the Zionist Organization of America's greatest honor for "being the best friend Israel ever had in the White House."
The organization's Theodor Herzl Medallion, awarded rarely, previously was presented to people including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, former President Harry Truman, and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
The ZOA honor was awarded to Trump at the ZOA's gala in New York City on Sunday night. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also was honored at the event.
"The Zionist Organization of America's sole mission is to fight for Israel's and the Jewish people's safety and security and prosperity," ZOA President Morton Klein said in a statement, Haaretz reported.
"Since President Trump is the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, we felt it was our moral duty to thank him for all he did for the Jewish State and the Jewish people and to express our sincere appreciation — from moving the embassy to Jerusalem to recognizing the Golan Heights to the Abraham Accords to strengthening protection for Jews on campuses and so much more."
Klein also wrote about Trump receiving the honor in a recent Newsweek editorial column.
"Sadly, many American Jews don't appreciate how important Israel is, both for their own safety and for the Jewish people," Klein wrote. "President Trump is, in fact, so popular in Israel that, were he eligible to run, he would likely be elected prime minister. Indeed, Israel named a new town after the 45th president, 'Trump Heights.'"
The ZOA was perhaps the most supportive Jewish organization of Trump during his presidency.
Klein was among the few Jewish establishment figures who refused to call President Joe Biden "president-elect" following his victory in a 2020 election that Trump alleged was determined by voter fraud.
Klein at the time told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "I will not call him [Biden] president-elect, I will say 'likely president-elect.'"
ZOA national chairman David Schoen represented Trump at his second impeachment trial.
The ZOA has drawn criticism from other Jewish groups for its support of Trump and his administration.
In 2016, young Jewish protesters demonstrated outside a ZOA gala set to honor former White House adviser Steve Bannon, who had been accused of helping to spread extremism and antisemitism, Haaretz reported.
Presenters at Sunday's gala included Miriam Adelson, widow of Republican megadonor and ZOA patron Sheldon Adelson. Mrs. Adelson reportedly has informed potential GOP presidential candidates that she will not get involved in the 2024 primary, Haaretz reported.
Other Theodor Herzl Medallion winners included Lord Balfour, David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, and Sheldon G. Adelson.
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