Knesset prepares ‘hall of fame’ of members who won Israel Prize

The Israel Prize is the country’s highest civilian honor, and is presented each year on Independence Day.

September 15, 2013 04:02
1 minute read.
Knesset MKs at plenum, March 18, 2013.

Knesset MKs at plenum 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

A Knesset hall of fame, featuring parliamentarians who won the Israel Prize, is set to be unveiled when the legislature starts its winter session next month.

The Israel Prize is the country’s highest civilian honor, and is presented each year on Independence Day by the president, prime minister, Knesset speaker and Supreme Court president for excellence in areas such as humanities, social sciences, Jewish studies, natural and exact sciences, culture, arts, communications, sports, lifetime achievement and exceptional contributions to the nation.

The winners are recommended to the education minister by a committee of judges.

There are photos of 33 Israel Prize-winning former MKs on a wall outside the plenum, five of whom are women: former prime minister Golda Meir, Shulamit Aloni, Geula Cohen, Sara Stern-Katan and Shoshana Parsitz.

Other MKs in the hall of fame include poet Uri Zvi Greenberg; Yizhar Smilansky, better known as the author S. Yizhar; former IDF chief of staff and archeologist Yigal Yadin; industrialist Stef Wertheimer; Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria; ex-justice minister Pinchas Rosen and Rabbi Haim Druckman.

The hall of fame also features former Tehiya MK Yuval Ne’eman, who returned his 1969 prize for exact sciences when poet and former Maki MK Emile Habibi received one in 1992.

Secular, national-religious, haredi and Arab former MKs won the Israel Prize in areas ranging from lifetime achievement to sciences, art and culture.

Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach came up with the idea for a “hall of fame” to improve MKs’ negative public image, and received Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s blessing.

The hall of fame will become part of tours of the Knesset.

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