Creating a better generation

EMET Prize winners committed to achieving excellence.

June 29, 2017 23:46
4 minute read.
THE EMET PRIZE was envisioned as being the Israeli equivalent of the Nobel and, in fact, most Israel

THE EMET PRIZE was envisioned as being the Israeli equivalent of the Nobel and, in fact, most Israeli Nobel winners first received the Emet. (photo credit: DAVID SALLEM)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Emet Prize has announced its winners for 2017. The honor is awarded for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far-reaching influence and make a significant contribution to Israeli society. It is given in five categories: Culture and Art, Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities The intention of the Alberto Moscona Nissim Foundation, sponsor of the prize, is to “acknowledge those who view excellence as a way of life, and the fulfillment of human potential as essential to creating a better world for future generations.”

“All of this year’s winners leads their field,” said foundation chairman Arie Dubson.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The prize is unique in that it’s the only prize of its level given only to Israelis. Dubson said Nissim envisioned the Emet Prize as being the equivalent of the Israeli Nobel and, in fact, most Israeli Nobel winners first received the Emet.

Winners receive between $100,000 and $200,000 each – their portion of $1 million in annual Emet Prize money – depending on whether the prize is shared in a particular category.

“The prize is not only for those who get it,” said Dubson.

“These people are an example for every other Israeli to look to and drive toward excellence.”

The winners this year were: • Oded Kotler and Yevgeny Arye shared the Culture and Art prize for acting and directing.

Kotler is an actor and director, most recently directing productions at the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv. He is best known for his role in the 1967 film Three Days and a Child and won Best Actor at that year’s Cannes Film Festival for that performance.

Arye has directed Tel Aviv’s Gesher Theatre since he helped found it in 1991. He was persuaded by Natan Sharansky to open the theater to serve as a bridge between Russian culture and the Israeli world, in which waves of new emigrés were arriving. Arye brought classical Russian visual staging techniques to Israel.

He has performed and directed around the world, including at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center, and Washington’s Kennedy Center.

Many of his plays center on the Holocaust with modern story lines. Arye said he is inspired by writers Anton Chekhov, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

• Technion electrical engineering Prof. Jacob Ziv, a leader in the fields of data compression, information theory and statistical communication theory, was the winner in the Exact Sciences category.

Ziv won the 1993 Israel Prize for exact sciences and other prizes for contributions to information theory, the theory and practice of data compression and technological innovation.

• Prof. Zelig Eshhar of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, and Prof. Alexander Levitzki of Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Biological Chemistry won the Life Sciences prize for their cancer research.

Eshhar is known for an innovative adaptive immunotherapy treatment technique.

He discovered that patients with advanced blood cancer could go into remission, or even be cured, if they were given T-cells genetically modified with synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors. Such T-cells target and destroy tumor cells.

Eshar has been conducting T-cell research for more than a decade.

While his first human studies were done in the US, Eshhar first tested his theory in Israel on rats and mice, and said in 2016 that he “had been saying for years that we could do this on people.”

Levitzki is similarly known for developing specific chemical inhibitors of cancer-induced protein kinases, pioneering several inhibitors as effective agents against cancer and other diseases. His research served as the basis for the development of two key anticancer drugs: Imatinib, sold under the brand name Gleevec, among others; and Sutinitib, which is marketed as Sutent. He has won several awards.

• Assaf Razin won the Social Sciences prize for helping elucidate the theory and consequences of population growth and its interactions with surrounding economic environments. A Cornell economics professor and Tel Aviv University emeritus, he has guest-lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern and the University of California, Berkeley.

• Prof. David Heyd was awarded the 2017 Humanities prize. Heyd has been teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem department of philosophy since 1976, specializing in ethical theory, political philosophy and bioethics.

He has published articles on topics ranging from experimentation on human subjects, to wrongful life claims, to prenatal diagnosis. He has publicly debated laws and regulations on bioethical issues in Israel. Heyd has served on government committees on surrogacy, euthanasia, organ donation and genetic technologies and held positions on the National Council of Bioethics and Israel Association of Fertility.

In a recent class, Heyd analyzed the value of preservation versus conservation: “I don’t believe the Mona Lisa has an aesthetic value – or any value at all – if there are no human beings anymore in the world,” Heyd explained.

“If the last man on the planet decided to tear up or burn the Mona Lisa before committing suicide or dying himself, then I think there is nothing we can say, morally speaking or from a values point of view, about this action. The preservation or conservation of Mona Lisa in a human-less world does not have any meaning.”

This article was written in cooperation with the AMN Foundation.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

December 11, 2018
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion's party merges with Likud