Yifat Shasha-Biton
Yifat Shasha-BitonMiriam Alster/Flash90

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) has decided not to grant the Israel Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science to Professor Oded Goldreich.

The decision follows Goldreich's signing a petition to boycott Ariel University, which is located in Samaria.

"Calling for a boycott on academic institutions in Israel undermines this purpose, since it aims to cut off the creation, variety, and freedom of opinions," Shasha-Biton wrote in her decision.

She added: "Prof. Goldreich's signing of the petition calling to boycott an Israeli academic institution, in early 2021, constitutes...an unusual incident which justifies the choice not to award the prize to the candidate, despite his prominent and impressive professional achievements in the field of his research."

"As Education Minister and Chairwoman of the Council for Higher Education, I cannot award the Israel Prize for academic achievements, impressive though they may be, to someone who calls for the boycott of an Israeli academic institution."

In June, then-Education Minister Yoav Galant (Likud) said that Goldreich would not receive the prize, citing a petition Goldreich had signed in 2019.

However, in March of this year, Goldreich signed another anti-Israel petition. In April, Israel's Supreme Court upheld Galant's decision, but granted him one month to find an alternative nominee.

When Shasha-Biton took office, she reiterated her predecessor's stance that Goldreich should not be allowed to receive the prize. But in August, the Supreme Court changed its tune, overturning the decision.