Netanyahu agrees to cease interference in Israel Prize following AG’s request

By
February 14, 2015 20:20

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to comply with the request by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein not to interfere in the makeup of the judges' panel for the Israel Prize during the election campaign period.

Weinstein's instruction comes after a weeklong brouhaha in which Netanyahu was severely criticized for his apparent meddling in the award process.

Last week it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office rejected Professors Avner Holtzman and Ariel Hirschfeld for the Literature Prize panel and filmmaker Chaim Sharir for the judge’s panel for the Israel Prize in Film.

The dismissals prompted the remaining members, comprised of leading authors and academics, to resign from the Literature panel, as they decried “the clear politicization of the prize,” casting doubt on whether the prize would be awarded this year.

In addition, several noted authors and cultural icons, including Ruth Dayan, Haim Be’er, Sami Michael, and David Grossman withdrew their candidacy for the Literature Prize in protest.

Netanyahu currently holds the Education Ministry portfolio, which is responsible for overseeing the Israel Prize, and had been asked to approve the judges’ panels, usually a formality.


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