Minister of Education does not take part in the Israel Prize

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton will not attend the awarding of the Israel Prize to a teacher whom she tried to turn down the medal for his alleged support of the anti-Israeli boycott, Israeli media authorities reported on Sunday.

Professor Oded Goldreich, a mathematician, will accept the Israel Prize in Shasha-Biton’s office at the Ministry of Education on Monday.

Ministry officials had told Goldreich last Friday that Shasha-Biton would not be attending the event, reports said hairnet. The minister has taken legal advice that she has the right to withdraw from the ceremony.

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Instead, the award will be presented by David Felber, who is responsible for the award as head of the National Service Division.

Although the award is usually presented in a public ceremony on Yom, HaAtzmaut Goldreich has waived this honor and will accept the award at the ministry. This year, Yom HaAtzmaut will take place on May 5th.

Shasha-Biton tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and would therefore have missed the awards ceremony anyway due to her quarantine.

Image: Oded Goldreich (Credit: CC BY SA 3.0) / Wikipedia)

Late last month, the High Court of Justice ruled that Shasha-Biton should award the prize to Goldreich after members of the awards committee, who decided to honor mathematician Oded Goldreich, appealed Shasha-Biton’s decision.

Shasha-Biton said she regrets the judges’ decision but will respect it. She noted that since the court had previously said that the Minister of Education should decide the matter, it should have respected her decision as well.

“A person who calls for a boycott of an Israeli academic institution does not deserve a government award, regardless of their achievements or political views,” she said.

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