The Israel Prize is the highest award of the State of Israel. It is awarded annually on the eve of Israeli Independence Day in a state ceremony in Jerusalem. The award was founded in 1953 on the initiative of the Minister of Education Ben -Zion Dinur out who got the prize awarded even in the years 1958 and 1973.
The prize is awarded in the following areas (the exact sub-areas are subject to constant change):
- The exact and natural sciences
- Humanities and social sciences, and Jewish Studies
- Culture and Art
- Hebrew song
- Life's work (since 1972)
The prize money is currently 75,000 NIS ( approximately € 15,000.00, Booth 2013).
The winners are Israeli citizens or organizations who have played a special meaning in their field or who have contributed in a significant way to the Israeli cultural life. The winners will be selected by a committee of experts, which forward their proposals to the Minister of Education.
By 2010, the prize was awarded 649 times.
Although the award is given only Israeli citizens, the Indian-born Zubin Mehta was awarded a special prize at the ceremony in 1991.
Known winners are:
Criticism of the award
Sometimes led the decision to give certain individuals a price to passion clear political debates:
Another criticism is that most winners are male, Jewish and secular.