JERUSALEM: Barack Obama will become the first serving US president to receive Israel's presidential medal when he visits the country next month, his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, said.
''President Obama has made a unique and meaningful contribution to strengthening the state of Israel and the security of its people,'' his office said.
''Barack Obama is a true friend of the state of Israel and has been since the beginning of his public life. As President of the United States he has stood beside Israel in times of crisis.''
Israel's presidential medal of distinction is awarded to individuals or organisations who have contributed to Israeli society.
The White House has not announced specific dates for Mr Obama's visit, his first to Israel and the West Bank as President.
Israeli media reports and a Palestinian official have said it will run from March 20 to 22.
The White House said Mr Obama had no plans to use the trip to push new peace proposals.