Scandal Hits ‘Israel’ Amid Claims of Witch Hunt Against the Left
Story Code : 927448
At this year’s ceremony, which was prerecorded on Sunday, no mention was made of Prof. Oded Goldreich, who had been selected by the ‘Israel’ Prize selection committee to receive the 2021 award in mathematics and computer science. The reason was that so-called Education Minister Yoav Gallant’s contention that Goldreich is a supporter of the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement against ‘Israel,’ which led the Likud party cabinet member to refuse to approve the prize going to Goldreich.
Gallant claimed that “anyone who does not hold the ‘Israel’ and its laws close to their heart does not deserve the ‘Israel’ Prize.” While Goldreich may be “a brilliant scientist,” Gallant claimed that, by supporting the BDS movement, he “spits in the face of ‘Israel’ and ‘Israeli’ academia.”
Goldreich, however, has declared publicly that he does not support BDS, although he is an outspoken opponent of the occupation and the West Bank settlement movement.
“If I supported BDS, I would not have agreed to accept the prize. I would have had to boycott it,” Goldreich said in response to Gallant’s allegations. Branding the Education Minister’s approach “political persecution” aimed at delegitimizing the left, he claimed that the education minister had looked for grounds to justify denying him the prize due to Goldreich’s leftist views.
The controversy surrounding Goldreich was not even the first this year to overshadow the ‘Israel’ Prize. An even bigger scandal was averted in the nick of time.