Former Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman z"l is to receive an Israel Prize posthumously, after he passed away last month. Nachman's widow, Dorit, will be presented with her husband's Lifetime Achievement Award on Israel Independence Day, April 16.
The announcement that Nachman would receive the prize was made Sunday by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar. The decision to award Nachman the prize was made by an Israel Prize committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge Ya'akov Turkel. Sa'ar approved the choice, saying that Nachman was deserving of the prize for his having built a large city out of nothing.
In a statement, the Committee said that “Ron Nachman was an original member of the 'Garin Tel Aviv' group, which planned to settle on the hilltops that eventually became Ariel, and in 1978 did just that. He was chosen as the first Local Authority head, presiding over the city for the rest of his life. He proudly accepted the title of 'city' for Ariel in 1998, as its population grew to over 20,000.
“Nachman was a great promoter of integration and melding different groups in his city,” the statement continued. “He turned Ariel into a destination for secular immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and a refuge for religious Jews who were evicted from their homes in the Disengagement. He led the way in turning Ariel into a city of technology, a model of communication and network to be imitated by cities across the country. He is one of the founders of Ariel University, where new immigrants study next to veteran Israelis, with Jews and Arabs, religious and non-religious all studying and striving for academic excellence,” the statement added.