President Shimon Peres will award U.S. President Barack Obama the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction during Obama's upcoming visit to Israel in March.
Last June, Peres traveled to the U.S. to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama at a White House ceremony.
Peres and his advisory committee, led by former Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar and former Israeli President Yitzhak Navon, made the decision on Monday to recognize Obama for his "unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens."
"Barack Obama is a true friend of the State of Israel," a statement from Peres' office said. "As president of the United States of America, he has stood with Israel in times of crisis."
Peres noted Obama's backing of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.
Obama's upcoming visit to Israel will be his first as president.
Meanwhile, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said on Monday that he had spoken by telephone with imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard during a meeting with Pollard's wife, Esther.
"During the meeting, Jonathan called [Esther] and we had the chance to exchange a few words," Lapid said. "The conversation brought tears to my eyes. He is in very bad health. He is desperate and broken."
According to Lapid, Pollard said, "All I want is to return home and spend the rest of my life with my wife, who has filled her days with enormous efforts to secure my release. Please help me."
Pollard, now 58, was arrested by U.S. authorities in 1985 and later sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Israel.
Around 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for Pollard's release that will be presented to Obama during his visit to Israel. Signatories include Navon, Nobel Prize winners Aaron Ciechanover and Dan Shechtman and writer A. B. Yehoshua, among others.