MIRIAM PERETZ shows a photo of her sons, who died in the service of the IDF, to Education Minister Naftali Bennett..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Miriam Peretz will be awarded the Israel Prize in Lifetime Achievement for Strengthening the Jewish-Israeli spirit, Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday.
Bennett notified Peretz – the mother of two Golani Brigade soldiers, Uriel and Eliraz, who were killed in action, the former in Lebanon in 1998 at the age of 22, and the latter in the Gaza Strip in 2010, at age 31 – who has devoted her life to educational activity – in person at her home in Jerusalem.
He posted a video of a shocked and tearful Peretz as he delivered the news to her.
“Miriam did not choose the circumstances of her difficult life, but chose to live and revive an entire people. [She is] the mother of us all,” Bennett tweeted.
In its decision, the prize committee, headed by retired judge Sarah Frisch, wrote that since the loss of her sons, “Miriam Peretz has devoted her life to education and imparting the Jewish and Zionist heritage while conducting lectures to youth and soldiers, and even to communities around the world in order to light our ways and strengthen our hands. Moreover, Miriam helps bereaved families and injured IDF soldiers.”
The committee continued: “Miriam is a symbol of the framework of the Jewish and Israeli spirit and is a symbol and an example of giving and helping others, society and the community.”
Also on Thursday evening, Bennett announced that former foreign minister David Levy will be awarded the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement for Social and Community Contribution.
In its decision the prize committee wrote that Levy’s personal story is of a young immigrant who came from Morocco and from nothing rose to the “core of public and social activity and the melting pot of Israeli society.”
“David Levy is a social fighter for the weaker sectors [of the population], a workers’ leader and a representative of the development towns and the periphery and its founders,” the committee wrote. “His unique character, his adherence to his principles and his social symbol are a source of inspiration for the public and a source of appreciation. His vision was courageous and his struggles and actions left a clear mark on Israeli society.”
The Israel Prize is regarded as the state’s highest honor. It is presented annually on Independence Day in a state ceremony in Jerusalem in the presence of the president, the prime minister, the Knesset speaker and the Supreme Court president.