The annual Moskowitz Prize for Zionism is now accepting nominations for heroes who "put Zionism into action in today's Israeli society."
This is the third year that the Lion of Zion award will honor those who "[act] for the benefit of the common good in order to ensure the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland." Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz established the prize in 2008, awarding it to three outstanding citizens in that year, and three more in 2009.
Along with the honor of receiving the prestigious award, winners are presented with a gift of $50,000 each.
In 2008, the winners were :
Rabbi David Fendel, Rosh Yeshiva of the Afikei Daat hesder yeshiva of Sderot. As rockets bombarded the Negev town, Rabbi Fendel encouraged students to come to Sderot, to learn Torah, and to involve themselves in holding the battered community together. Rabbi Fendel set up Big Brother and Torah learning programs to match local residents with students of the yeshiva.
Mr. Moshe "Moshko" Moshkovitz, Founder of the Tsomet Institute and a founder of the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shvut and the Har Etzion hesder yeshiva. Moshkovitz was among the founders of the Masuot Yitzchak group that settled in Gush Etzion in 1945. He was one of two founders of the Tsomet Institute, and organization dedicated to the development of halachically-compliant technology. He has developed several organizations serving Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora.
Brig.Gen.(res.) Ran Pecker-Ronen, Air Force Commander and Pilot, and founder of the Zahala Project. Brig. Gen. Pecker-Ronen served in the Sinai campaign, Six Day War, and Yom Kippur War, downing seven enemy planes in 350 courageous flights. After serving as Israel's Consul General in Los Angeles, Brig. Gen. Pecker-Ronen established the Zahala project to instill Zionist values, good citizenship, and social involvement in Israel youth. Approximately 700 students take part in the program today.
In 2009, the winners were:
Mr. Noam Arnon, leader of the Jewish community of Hevron. Arnon, who has lived in Kiryat Arba and Hevron for 36 years, established the Hebron Midrasha which provides educational programming for thousands of school children, soldiers and university students. He later became the head of the Gush Emunim movement. For years, he has worked to call attention to Hevron as a biblical city, urging Jews to celebrate the Jewish heritage of the city. He has also documented the history of the Jewish community in Hevron.
Mr. Sammy Bar Lev, mayor of the city of Katzrin. Bar Lev made aliyah from Baghdad with his family in 1951. He became one of the first pioneers of settlement in the Golan Heights after the Six Day War, helping to establish the modern day city of Katzrin near the ancient Mishnaic city of the same name in 1977.
Mrs. Ronit Shukar, Founder of the town of Achiya. Shukar and her husband Yosef helped establish the small community of Shvut Rachel, named after a resident of Shiloh who was killed in a terror attack. Yosef initiated an olive planting operation as part of his vision of Jewish agriculture in the area. A farm and olive press were established around the grove. When Yosef was critically wounded in an accident at the press, Shukar cared for him, their four children, and oversaw the transformation of the farm into a community of 20 families who all take part in farming the groves or working a winery and visitors center in the town. Yosef passed away, but his dream produced Meshek Achiya oil, some of Israel's most celebrated olive oil.
The deadline for submitting names for the 2010 Moskowitz Prize for Zionism is Friday, January 28th, the night before the holiday of Tu B'Shvat. Nominees must be Israeli citizens and residents who work to make Israel a better place.
A committee, chaired by Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz, will determine the winners. Other committee members are Professor Moshe Arens; Rabbi Yedidya Atlas; Ambassador Yoram Ettinger; Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis; Brig. General Avigdor Kahalani; Rabbi Pesach Lerner; Rabbi Daniel Moskowitz; Special Academic Advisor: Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Yisrael Aumann; Ruth J. Lieberman - Director.