On Tuesday, the twelfth annual Moskowitz Prize for Zionism was awarded to six people recognized for their contributions to the Zionist enterprise.

During Tuesday night’s award ceremony in Jerusalem, Ruthie Lieberman, Director of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, told Arutz Sheva that the genesis of the prize came as a result of the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, which uprooted some 9,000 Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.

“Cherna Moskowitz came to me many years ago and said ‘We have to do something. We have to raise the morale of our own kind of people, our own kind of Zionism.’”

“People weren’t saying nice things about the residents of Gush Katif and the people Beit El and the Shomron [Samaria] and Gush Etzion. And she wanted to do something to raise the morale,” continued Lieberman.

“It is a nice, fancy, nice prize. We give it to people of all walks of life in Israel. Israelis who do things for Zionism. A public committee chooses it. People are on the committee so that it can be a real statement from the people of Israel that we’re choosing what we want to emphasize about Zionism today.”

Cherna Moskowitz, the chairwoman of the Prize and widow of the late Jewish philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva that the Prize was created not only to recognize the importance of Zionism, but to celebrate its vitality, and to give the Zionist movement a “shot in the arm” after the Gaza withdrawal.

“This prize came out of an event, and that was the movement out of Gush Katif. I felt that at that time we all needed a boost and we all needed a shot in the arm. This was the answer.”

“I think the message is that Zionism is not only important, but it is exciting, it is wonderful, it is happening, and we are all here to celebrate Zionism tonight.”

The Moskowitz Prize, which was first awarded in 2008, was given this year to Beit Shemesh Mayor and former educator Dr. Aliza Bloch; Dr. Maor Farid of the Israeli Society for the Heritage of Ethiopian Jewry; Ruti-Anatoohun Turetsky an educator who has produced shows dealing with the integration of new immigrants in Israel; Prof. Moshe Koppel, the founder of the Kohelet Forum, a Zionist think-tank; and a joint award to Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, the leaders of the Sovereignty Movement.