Obama became the first US president to win Israel's highest civilian honor.
The ceremony was carried live by some US cable networks.
In more substantial news, Obama got Israel and Turkey to hug it out and help deal with what is going in Syria.
Barack Obama has persuaded Israel to apologise to Turkey for the loss of nine lives on board the Mavi Marmara – the lead ship in an aid flotilla trying to breach the blockade of Gaza – in a deal that paves the way for diplomatic relations to be restored between the two countries.
News of the US-brokered deal came on Friday as Obama was leaving Israel at the end of his first official visit during which he was praised for an emotional speech tailored to mainstream Jewish opinion but criticised for doing nothing practical to advance stalled peace negotiations and downplaying Palestinian suffering.
The apology to Turkey for the May 2010 incident had been resisted by Israel until now, despite pressure from the international community. Both are close US allies – Turkey is a member of Nato – so the president was well placed to broker the deal.