President and Prime Minister's Prize for Commemorating Presidents and Prime Ministers of Israel
Photo by GPO 

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening awarded the annual prize for work regarding the commemorating the character, thought and work of Israel’s former presidents and prime ministers. The objective of the prize is to encourage students, researchers, lecturers and authors to engage in work related to those who served as presidents and prime ministers of Israel.

This year’s prizes were dedicated to the commemoration of President Chaim Herzog and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

The prize for the memory of Israel’s sixth president, Chaim Herzog, was awarded to Shlomo Nakdimon for his research into Herzog’s security and diplomatic work in the pre-state years. His research illuminated unknown chapters in Herzog’s rich career and revealed the creative and unusual means that Herzog used in the diplomatic and intelligence sphere to achieve strategic goals that were important to the pre-state Jewish community and to the young state. Nakdimon is a journalist, author and researcher engaged in the study of Israeli history, including security and strategic issues.

The prize for the memory of David Ben-Gurion was awarded to two recipients. The first is Dr. Rafi Mann for his book "The Leader and the Media – David Ben-Gurion and the Struggle for the Public Domain, 1948-1963." The book is the fruit of thorough and innovative research that reveals a new aspect of Ben-Gurion’s character, activities and contributions to the development of democracy in the Israel’s early years. The prize was also awarded to the company 900 Meter Productions, Ltd., under the management of Nadav Ben-Yisrael, Reuben Greenwall and Ezri Kedar for the film "Ben-Gurion Hosts" an animated historical presentation that tells viewers about Ben-Gurion’s life, decisions, worldview and vision for the Negev.

In addition to the two prizes, four honorable mentions were also awarded:

Two honorable mentions for special contributions to commemorating the memory and heritage of President Herzog were awarded. The first was to the ninth grade honors class at the Air Force Technology School for developing games that aid pupils in absorbing and internalizing President Herzog’s work and heritage. The second honorable mention was awarded to the Israel State Archives for the 2009 book on the life of President Herzog, edited by Dr. Arnon Lamfrum. The book was published as part of a series on the presidents and prime ministers of Israel who have passed on.

Two honorable mentions were awarded for commemorating the memory of David Ben-Gurion. The first was awarded to Dr. Nir Kedar for his research over many years into the heritage and work of David Ben-Gurion regarding the establishment of governance and state institutions in Israel. The second honorable mention was awarded to Prof. Ariel Feldstein for his research over many years into the ideas and diplomatic work of David Ben-Gurion.

President Peres said, "The life of Chaim Herzog reflected the history of the State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion was the architect of our national revival."

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Leadership and the ability to realize ideals and implement a vision, standing proud and uncompromising over national interests and ensuring the achievements of modern Israel while retaining a deep link to our unique culture, characterized the public record of our first prime minister and our sixth president and bound them together. The places of David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Herzog are etched in gold letters in the annals of the renewed Israel. Thanks to their service to the whole, their pioneering spirit to restore to the Jewish People what it had lost, and their putting state affairs at the center of their aspirations and actions – we have reached the heights and marched forward, and we will continue to do so."

The committee that awarded this year’s prizes was composed of Prof. Aryeh Naor (Chairman), Dr. Arnon Lamfrum (representative of the Israel State Archives), Dr. Gilat Gofer (representative of the Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute), Ambassador Moshe Raviv (representative of the Chaim Herzog Institute), attorney Hannah Keller (public representative) and Ronit Davoush-Hadad (public representative).