JERUSALEM — President Ezer Weizman joined Education Minister Yitzhak Levy on Thursday of last week in awarding the Israel Prize to 23 scholars, leaders, artists and writers.
"The huge ocean of Jewish thought and writing unites us all as a people," Levy said at the ceremony at the Jerusalem Theater.
A larger than usual number of prizes was awarded this year in honor of the jubilee. In all, 461 prizes have been granted in the past 20 years.
Three recipients were honored for their unique contributions to Israeli society: former Knesset speaker and Labor party minister Shlomo Hillel; Haim Yisraeli, who has been an adviser to every defense minister since the state was born; and former MK Sarah Stern-Katan.
In the humanities and social sciences, the prizes went to Yehuda Bauer (Jewish history), Moshe Gil (research into Israeli history), Trude Dotan (archeology), Arye Levy (education), Emanuel Marks (sociology) and Yona Rosenfeld (social work).
The prizes for work in the natural sciences were awarded to Yehudit Birk (agriculture), Rami Rahamimov (medical sciences), Dan Shechtman (physics) and Saharon Shelah (mathematics).
Prizes in the arts went to Amos Oz (literature), Dalia Rabikowitz (poetry; her prize was accepted in her absence by her son, Lippa Yahalom), Dan Tsur (architecture), Dan Reisinger (design), Yehudit Arnon (dance), Hassia Levy-Agron (folk dance), Yossi Banai (theater), Yaffa Yarkoni (Israeli song) and Ehud Manor (Israeli music).
Hillel, who responded on behalf of the recipients, said:
"Our small contribution in the past is also a commitment to continue to contribute in the future."