Opposing the Winner, Education Minister to Skip Israel Prize Ceremony at Her Office

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton will rebuff the Israel Prize ceremony for Prof. Oded Goldreich, after a High Court decision two weeks ago overruled her decision to withhold the prestigious academic prize. Mathematician Prof. Oded Goldreich is to receive the prize at the Education Ministry on Monday.

Prof. Oded Goldreich (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Ministry officials already told Goldreich last Friday that Shasha-Biton will not be at the event. The minister was given a legal opinion that it is within her right to back out of the ceremony.

Golreich’s lawyer, Adv. Michael Sfard, responded to Shasha-Bitton’s snub: “We already know the minister’s anti-democratic tendencies. Now another aspect of her is revealed: that she lacks stateliness and respect for the court that ruled on the matter, and that she’s disrespectful and lacks class.” Though the prize is usually awarded during a public ceremony on Israel’s Independence Day, Goldreich waived that honor and is to receive the prize at the ministry instead.

At the end of last month, the Hight Court of Justice ruled that Shasha-Biton must hand over the prize to Goldreich following a petition against her refusal, filed by the members of the prize committee that had initially awarded the honor to the professor. Shasha-Biton said at the time that she regretted the justices’ decision but would respect it. She noted that since the court had previously said the education minister should decide the matter, it should have respected her decision.

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=30229