Ten honored with Israel´s 59th annual Israel Prize (JERUSALEM POST) By GREER FAY CASHMAN 04/27/12)
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The Israel Prize – the nation’s most prestigious award – was bestowed
on 10 honorees at the closing ceremony of Thursday’s Independence Day
festivities in the Jerusalem International Convention Center
The recipients were: Prof. David Kashdan for Mathematics and Computer
Sciences; Prof. Shlomo Bentin for Psychology; Prof. David Milstein
for Chemistry and Physics; Profs. Ruth Katz and Dalia Carni Cohen for
Culture, Arts and Musicology; Prof. Yoav Binyamini for Economics and
Statistics; Natan Shaham for Literature and Hebrew Song; and Yaakov
Ahimeir for Communications. Life Achievement awards were given to
environmentalist Azaria Alon, who was one of the founders of the
Society for the Protection of Nature, and educator and former MK
Rabbi Haim Drukman.
Alon is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as hosting the longest-
running weekly radio program. He broadcasted for 53 years on Israel
Radio’s Reshet Bet. Drukman worked with hesder yeshivas, bringing
Zionist youth to Israel, assisting with immigrant absorption and
leading conversion programs within the framework of Halacha, or
The Israel Prize was initiated in 1953 by then-education minister Ben-
The Education Ministry evaluates potential nominees and the education
minister presents the award in the presence of the president, prime
minister, speaker of the Knesset, president of the Supreme Court and
mayor of Jerusalem.
Two of the 2012 prize recipients made history in areas unrelated to
the nominated fields. Milstein was a paratrooper who helped take the
Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War.
Shaham participated in raising the “ink flag” over Eilat in 1949 to
signify Israeli sovereignty in the War of Independence.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar presented the citations to all the
honorees with the exception of Ahimeir, who received his mention from
President Shimon Peres.
A huge cheer swept across the audience when Ahimeir’s name was
announced. Ahimeir spoke on behalf of all the recipients. In his
address, he criticized elected officials for their indifference and
cynicism toward the needs of society and toward fighting corruption.
He asked the nation’s leaders to give Israelis pride in being able to
say they are citizens.
Ahimeir – employed for half a century at the Israel Broadcasting
Authority – addressed Israel’s struggle for legitimacy, when few
question Iran’s and North Korea’s right to exist. For some reason, he
said, some intellectuals would like to see Israel disappear from the
map and blame Israel for the lack of peace.
In introductory remarks, Sa’ar stressed the importance of providing
greater educational opportunities for the haredi and Arab sectors.
Many members of the Arab community would like to integrate into the
Israeli mainstream, the minister said, but they must possess the
educational tools to improve their quality of life. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/27/12)
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