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The ISRAEL PRIZE (Hebrew : פרס ישראל‎) is an award handed out by the State of Israel
Israel
and is generally regarded as the state's highest cultural honor. It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day , in a state ceremony in Jerusalem
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 , who himself went on to win the prize in 1958 and 1973.

CONTENTS

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

AWARDING THE PRIZE

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
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

Main article: List of Israel
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
Israel
Aumann , Golda Meir , Amos Oz , Ephraim Kishon , Naomi Shemer , David Benvenisti and Teddy Kollek , and organizations such as Israel
Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra , Jewish Agency , 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 received a special award of the Israel
Israel
Prize in 1991. Mehta is originally from India, and is music director of the Israel
Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra .

CONTROVERSY

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 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 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 , politician Shulamit Aloni , professor Zeev Sternhell and Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club chairman Shimon Mizrahi .

On occasion, the committee has been criticized for failing to award the prize to a specific individual. For example, many have expressed criticism (or regret) that the poet Natan Yonatan never received the prize.

In other cases, the recipients were reluctant to retrieve the prize. These include Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and performer Uri Zohar . In 2003, artist Moshe Gershoni informed the press that he will not shake the hands of the prime minister and education minister, and in return his prize was annulled.

Another criticism of the prize is that the large majority of winners have been male, Jewish
Jewish
, and secular. Although around 25% of Israel\'s population is non-Jewish, as of 2010 fewer than 2% of winners have been non-Jewish. These include one Arab Muslim (diplomat Ali Yahya ), two Arab Christians (writer Emile Habibi and actor Makram Khoury ), one Circassian (industrialist Eldin Khatukai ), two Arab Druze
Druze
(judge Amin Tarif and government official Kamal Mansour ), and one French Catholic (theologian Marcel-Jacques Dubois ). Awarding the prize to Habibi resulted in physicist and politician Yuval Ne\'eman relinquishing his own prize.

In February 2015, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu vetoed the appointment of two members of the selection panel for the Israel
Israel
Prize in Literature after they had already started their work, prompting the other three members, including Ziva Ben-Porat , to resign in protest. Netanyahu explained that the two panel members were politically unsuitable and that "oo often, it seemed that the extreme panel members were bestowing the prizes on their friends". 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." 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. 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".

VENUE

* International Convention Center * Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Theatre

IN POPULAR CULTURE

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

REFERENCES

* ^ 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
Jewish
Studies Scholars in Early Zionist Education". Mandel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-02-17. * ^ Ben-Zion Dinur: Knesset website * ^ A B C Leave the prize winners in peace The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post, May 1, 2011 * ^ Or Kashti (Feb 11, 2015). " Israel
Israel
Prize for Literature faces cancellation as judges resign". Haaretz. * ^ A B Jonathan Lis (Feb 1