The 2009 Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, established a year ago by prominent Jewish philanthropists Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, this year is being awarded to two men and a woman.
The star-studded ceremony began at 7:30 p.m. in the Old City of Jerusalem, as the sun sank over the City of David, the venue for the event.
The 'Lion of Zion' prize is awarded to Israeli citizens who are residents of the country and who best personify modern Zionism in their actions, addressing the challenges that face Zionism today in education, culture, settlement, social action and other spheres.
This year's award honorees include Mr. Noam Arnon, leader of the Jewish community of Hevron, Mr. Sammy Bar Lev, mayor of the Golan Heights city of Katzrin and Mrs. Ronit Shuker, founder of the community of Givat Achiya.
2009 'Lion of Zion' Honorees
Arnon has long been a community activist in the Judean holy city of Hevron. He earned this year's honor "for his critical role in attracting the attention of Jews across Israel and all over the world to the City of the Patriarchs and turning Hevron into one of the central sites celebrating Jewish heritage in Israel; and for his documentation of the history of the Jewish community of Hevron and his leadership as one of the heads of the renewal of Jewish settlement in the city."
Bar Lev has spent his entire adult life working to establish and strengthen Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights. He is being honored for his central role in in the settlement of the Golan and its prosperity for the past 40 years. As mayor of Katzrin, Bar Lev turned the town into a national example of community and municipal leadership and the pioneering Zionist spirit.
Shuker and her late husband Yosef were among those who established the community of Shvut Rachel near Shiloh as a Zionist response to the terrorist murder of Rachel Druck, a mother of seven from Shiloh. Shuker won the Moskowitz Prize for her role in the pioneering Zionist enterprise of settling the hills east of Shiloh; for her commitment to the renewing the Zionist dream of Jewish agricultural labor in the Binyamin Region; and for her efforts to instill these values in today’s youth by setting an example for Zionist achievement.
Dr. and Mrs. Moskowitz are strong supporters of numerous Jewish settlement projects that embrace the Jerusalem area, as well as other Jewish and humanitarian causes in the United States.
In December 2005, Dr. and Mrs. Moskowitz presented a substantial contribution to Beit Orot - the property on which the hesder yeshiva sits on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The Beit Orot hesder yeshiva has since been named the Irving Moskowitz Yeshiva & Campus.
Early in his career, Dr. Moskowitz turned to the construction and management of medical centers, thus building the base for his charitable foundation, the Moskowitz Foundation.
His wife Cherna has long been active in Zionist enterprises as well. In addition to her role as president of the Moskowitz Foundation, Mrs. Moskowitz has served on the board of Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Ariel University Center, Zionist Organization of America, JINSA and Bar Ilan University.