Pioneers across a spectrum of fields will be awarded the EMET Prize Thursday night.
Seven winners – whose work ranges from acting triumphs to ground-breaking cancer research – will receive the prize at the Jerusalem Theatre.
The winners will receive a total of one million dollars from the AMN Foundation for their life’s work.
Unlike other prestigious prizes which award Jews from the diaspora, EMET prides itself on rewarding Israel’s own and considers itself the Israeli Nobel Prize.
“Our winners are each stellar in their respective fields and they should make all Israelis proud,” AMN Foundation general manager Arie Dubson told The Jerusalem Post.
Dubson hopes that in today’s climate where prize ceremonies – especially ones awarding cultural endeavors – are a lightning rod for controversy, the EMET Prize can become a unifying force.
Not to say that Thursday’s ceremony won’t have its own touch of controversy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to participate in this year’s ceremony, despite the fact that all prime ministers have presented the awards since its inception in 2002.
His decision comes as a result of actor and director Oded Kotler being one of this year’s recipients. Two years ago, Kotler got himself into hot water for comparing people to “cud-chewing cattle.” It was interpreted by many as a slight against right-wing voters who supported Netanyahu.
Kotler has since clarified and apologized for those comments.
“I regret that the prime minister won’t attend this year, we welcome and look forward to his future participation in the years to come,” Dubson said.
In addition to Kotler, this year’s recipients will include Prof. Jacob Ziv, a leader in the fields of data compression, information and statistical communication theory; Zelig Eshhar and Alexander Levitzki for their pioneering work in cancer research; philosopher David Heyd – a philosopher whose work on ethics has influenced national medical and legal-medical issues; Assaf Razin for his research in economics and; the consequences of population growth and Tel Aviv’s Gesher Theater director Yevgeny Arye.
This article was written in cooperation with the EMET Prize.