Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogAvi Ohayon, GPO

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Moshe Tur-Paz has proposed a bill to bypass the government when awarding the Israel Prize.

This, he said, "is in light of the Minister of Education’s decision to cancel the Israel Prize awards, due to the identity and political affiliation of the winner."

According to the proposal, the Israel Prize will be awarded annually on the eve of Independence Day by the President of the State, and not by the Minister of Education, as has been the tradition until now.

Tur-Paz said, "I wish we didn't need a bill to state the obvious, but when petty politicians are busy with petty politics, we need it. The Israel Prize is awarded for a lifetime achievement and that is how it should be."

Entrepreneur Eyal Waldman participated in the Knesset’s Science Committee discussion on Sunday and burst into tears when he claimed that due to political considerations he had been robbed of the Israel Prize.

"The claim that prizes are not given out in wartime is not only a fabricated claim, but is also ridiculous. It is precisely in times of war that civic caring, entrepreneurship, science and culture must be strengthened. This is my homeland, for which I fought and whose soil is soaked with the blood of my beloved daughter Danielle and her beloved partner Noam Shai, who was like a son to me. Families have sacrificed their most dearest, and our children have lost their lives to protect and preserve our civil society. A country where culture, science and entrepreneurship are eradicated in one fell swoop has ceased to be a democratic state. It is precisely in these terrible times that civil society must be strengthened," Waldman argued.

He added, "Unfortunately, the current government is constantly undermining the foundations of society and democracy. If the minister's claim were true, we would expect that all Independence Day ceremonies would be cancelled, but this is not happening. On the contrary, I read in the media that they plan to hold the torch ceremony and bring top Israeli artists to perform. There is no intention of canceling the World Bible Quiz either. What is the difference between these ceremonies and the Israel Prize ceremony? The difference is Eyal Waldman."

"I claim that the decision to cancel this year's awards stemmed from the fact that the minister knew that he could not disqualify only me, and had to cancel all the awards for this year. This is despicable and delusional. I claim that the minister did not act on his own initiative, but on orders from above," accused Waldman.