Yehuda Harel and Nava Ben-Zvi awarded year’s final Israel Prizes

The Israel Prize is largely regarded as the state’s highest honor.

Prof. Nava Ben-Zvi (photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
Prof. Nava Ben-Zvi
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced the two final winners of this year’s Israel Prize: former MK Yehuda Harel will receive the prize for Lifetime Achievement in Agriculture and Settlement, and Prof. Nava Ben-Zvi will receive the prize for Lifetime Achievement in Education.
In its decision on Monday, the prize committee wrote: “Yehuda Harel is the father of Israeli settlement in the Golan, one of the most magnificent Zionist settlement projects.”
Harel moved to the Golan Heights immediately following the Six Day War and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Merom Golan as well as an active participant in the establishment of many of the Golan settlements.

He also served as a founding member of the Third Way Party, serving in the 14th Knesset, together with fellow Israel Prize winner, Prof. Alex Lubotzky.
“A man of vision and action that transformed the Golan Heights from a basalt and battlefield to a vibrant area; a place of Zionist agricultural activity in the full sense of the word,” the committee wrote.
For the Israel Prize in education, the committee wrote in its decision, “Prof. Ben-Zvi was a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, chair of the Center for Scientific Studies, and in the 1970s, she was a member of the team that established the Open University with the aim of making education accessible to the general population.
“Prof. Ben-Zvi is a pioneer in the field of accessibility of materials to the Internet, with the understanding that children learn and internalize through learning experiences. Prof. Ben-Zvi also worked to strengthen curricula in the field of mathematics and in general, and served as chairwoman of the Israel Center for Excellence in Education, which provides education for excellent students from all sectors of the population in Israel,” it wrote.
The committee hailed Ben-Zvi’s promotion of women’s leadership in the field of health and her leadership in integrating ethnic minorities, ultra-Orthodox, and people with learning disabilities into the higher education system in Israel.
“Nava was invited to serve as a member of the United Nations International Initiative called Academic Impact, which aims to actively support human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution,” the committee wrote in its decision.
The Israel Prize is largely 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.