"Through his distinguished military career and the political career, few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on Israeli security and prosperity on the US-Israeli relationship," Panetta told Pentagon reporters before presenting the prestigious award to Barak yesterday.
"Relationship between the United States and Israel is stronger than, I think, at any time in history, based on our relationship and based on the assistance that we are providing," he said.
The US-Israeli defence relationship is based on "ironclad commitment" of the United States to Israel's security which also came up during the discussion between them, Panetta said.
As per the citation, Barak as Defence Minister has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the US -Israel relationship through his exemplary efforts that firmly established Israel as an instrumental partner to the nation.
"His astute and valuable insights and cooperation with the United States Department of Defence served to strengthen the working relationships between the US and Israel during the most complex situations facing the region and beyond," it said.
Respected for his shrewdness and analytic skill, Barak orchestrated Israel's policy toward regional security threats and was an essential voice and leader who carried the message of cooperation between the two countries, the citation said.
Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has presented the Department of Defence Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest award given to a foreign leader, to his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak.
First Published: Friday, November 30, 2012, 11:51