The Info List - Israel Prize

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The Israel
Prize (Hebrew: פרס ישראל‬) is an award handed out by the State of Israel
and is generally regarded as the state's highest cultural honor.[1] It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day, in a state ceremony in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset (Israel's legislature), and the Supreme Court President. The prize was established in 1953 at the initiative of the Minister of Education Ben-Zion Dinor,[2] who himself went on to win the prize in 1958 and 1973.[3]


1 Awarding the prize 2 Recipients 3 Controversy 4 Venue 5 Hosts 6 In popular culture 7 References 8 External links

Awarding the prize[edit] The prize is awarded in the following four areas, with the precise subfields changing from year to year in a cycle of 4 to 7 years, except for the last area, which is awarded annually:

the humanities, social sciences, and Jewish studies the natural and exact sciences culture, arts, communication and sports lifetime achievement and exceptional contribution to the nation (since 1972)

The recipients of the prize are Israeli citizens or organizations who have displayed excellence in their field(s), or have contributed strongly to Israeli culture. The winners are selected by committees of judges, who pass on their recommendations to the Minister of Education. Prize winners are elected by ad-hoc committees, appointed by the minister of education for each category each year. Decisions of the committee must be unanimous. The prize money was NIS 75,000 as of 2008. Recipients[edit] Main article: List of Israel
Prize recipients As of 2009, the prize has been awarded 633 times. Prominent winners include individuals such as Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Martin Buber, Abba Eban, A. B. Yehoshua, Israel
Aumann, Golda Meir, Amos Oz, Ephraim Kishon, Naomi Shemer, David Benvenisti and Teddy Kollek, and organizations such as Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra, Jewish Agency, Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
and Jewish National Fund. Though the prize is generally awarded to Israeli citizens only, in exceptional cases it can be awarded to non-Israelis who have held Israeli residency for many years. Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
received a special award of the Israel
Prize in 1991. Mehta is originally from India, and is music director of the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra. Controversy[edit]

This section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page. (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The decision to award the prize to specific individuals has sometimes led to impassioned political debate. In 1993, the strong reaction of then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
against the nomination of Yeshayahu Leibowitz led Leibowitz to decline the prize. In 2004, Education and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, twice sent the decision to award the prize to sculptor Yigal Tumarkin
Yigal Tumarkin
back to the prize committee. Cases in which the decision was brought before the Supreme Court of Israel included the prizes given to publicist Shmuel Shnitzer,[4] politician Shulamit Aloni, professor Zeev Sternhell[4] and Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club chairman Shimon Mizrahi.[4] In February 2015, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu
Benyamin Netanyahu
vetoed the appointment of two members of the selection panel for the Israel
Prize in Literature after they had already started their work, prompting the other three members, including Ziva Ben-Porat, to resign in protest.[5] Netanyahu explained that the two panel members were politically unsuitable and that "[t]oo often, it seemed that the extreme panel members were bestowing the prizes on their friends".[6] One of the candidates for the prize, Yigal Schwartz of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev withdrew his nomination and called on other candidates to do the same, writing that the situation was an "unprecedented scandal", and that the action was a "continuation of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s deliberate policy of undermining Israel’s elites to gain votes from other groups."[6] Over the next few days, members of the committees for the literary research and film prizes also resigned, leaving only two members from the original 13 of the three committees, and many other candidates for the prizes withdrew their nominations.[7] David Grossman
David Grossman
withdrew his candidature with the explanation that "Netanyahu's move is a cynical and destructive ploy that violates the freedom of spirit, thought and creativity of Israel, and I refuse to cooperate with it".[7] Venue[edit]

International Convention Center Jerusalem


Yardena Arazi Yona Elian Dalia Mazor Daniel Pe'er

In popular culture[edit]

In the film Footnote, father and son scholars compete for the Israel prize, straining their already complex relationship.


^ Reich, Bernard; Goldberg, David H. (2016). Historical Dictionary of Israel. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-4422-7185-2.  ^ Marom, Daniel. "The Role of Jewish Studies Scholars in Early Zionist Education". Mandel Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2008-02-17.  ^ Ben-Zion Dinur: Knesset
website ^ a b c Leave the prize winners in peace The Jerusalem
Post, May 1, 2011 ^ Or Kashti (Feb 11, 2015). " Israel
Prize for Literature faces cancellation as judges resign". Haaretz.  ^ a b Jonathan Lis (Feb 11, 2015). "Netanyahu: Israel
Prize judges include too many anti-Zionist extremists". Haaretz.  ^ a b Nirit Anderman and Ori Kashti (Feb 12, 2015). "David Grossman withdraws from Israel
Prize in protest of Netanyahu's interference". Haaretz. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Israel

Official website (in Hebrew) October, 2006: Ariel Sharon's disputable nomination for Israel
Prize - From Ariel Sharon' Life Story, biog