Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope), a former member of the Likud, will apparently inform Israel’s High Court of Justice and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit that she does not intend to reverse the decision of her predecessor to deny the Israel Prize to Prof. Oded Goldreich, Kan Television 11 reported on Monday, July 5.
Former Education Ministry Yoav Gallant (Likud), who was replaced by Shasha-Biton with the forming of the Bennett-Lapid government, vetoed awarding the coveted Israel Prize to Communist Prof. Goldreich in April due to the latter’s support for the Palestinian struggle against the occupation.
When petitioned by Goldreich’s legal council, the High Court was asked by the state attorney to grant Shasha-Biton a 21-day extension to issue an updated decision. That extension will elapse on Sunday, July 11, at which time it is anticipated that the Education Minister will not intervene in the matter.
Professor Goldreich’s attorney, Michael Sfard said in response to the television report, “I thought the new government was a change government that will revise Israel’s attitude regarding those critical towards the state’s policies… A McCarthyist spirit remains in control of the Education Ministry. We will continue our battle against the relevant legal mechanisms.”
According to an editorial published in Haaretz editorial on July 6, “Such an evasion, which falls somewhere between feigned innocence and public deception, is unacceptable. This non-intervention sends a clear message. While Gallant will go down as a McCarthyite who polluted the Israel Prize with political considerations, the person who stood by and let it happen will also bear responsibility. These are not the winds of change that the new government promised to bring. After this failure by Shasha-Biton, others will have to explain to her again the principles of democracy.”