PRESS RELEASE: ³We are proud Jews; we are proud Israelis; we are proud
The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism
"We are proud Jews; we are proud Israelis; we are proud Zionists"
Moskowitz Prize for Zionism award ceremony draws MKs and hundreds of people
from across the country to honor three pioneering Zionists
May 24, 2009 - JERUSALEM- At a twilight ceremony on Thursday on the slopes
of the ancient City of David, Likud Minister Beni Begin and Nobel Prize
winner Prof. Yisrael Aumann congratulated the winners of the 2009 Moskowitz
Prize for Zionism "Lion of Zion" award, and encouraged the audience to take
pride in their identity and continue to do their part to strengthen the
country. The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, established in 2008 by Dr. Irving
and Cherna Moskowitz, recognizes exceptional individuals from across the
spectrum of Israeli society who put Zionism into action, placing the
collective before personal needs and do what it takes to ensure a strong,
secure Jewish homeland.
Adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, the City of
David was a poignant spot for an event held on the eve of 42nd anniversary
of Jerusalem's reunification.
"In this citadel of Zion, we express appreciation and admiration for acts of
Zionism," said Begin, addressing a packed audience that included fellow
cabinet members Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau and Minister
of Science Daniel Hershkowitz. "We must continue to cope with the
difficulties facing us and fortify our strength."
Prof. Aumann, Special Advisor to the public committee entrusted with
choosing the winners of the prize from among hundreds of nominees, spoke
about his feelings on the day of Jerusalem's reunification when he first
glimpsed the Israeli flag flying over the Old City. "This is the essence of
the flag: We are proud Jews; we are proud Israelis; we are proud Zionists.
We know our forefathers; we know our identity; we don't hide it. We march
with our heads held high!"
"The recipients of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism-- each one as an
individual, and all together as a representative group-- march before us
with their heads held high. We salute them."
This year, the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism's $150,000 "Lion of Zion" prize
was divided equally among three recipients for their outstanding
achievements: Noam Arnon, for his documentation of the history of the Jewish
community of Hebron and his leadership in bringing both Israeli and
international attention to the Jewish identity of the city; Sami Bar Lev,
for central his role in the settlement of the Golan after 1967, and for
establishing the city of Qatzrin and turning it into an national example of
community and municipal leadership; and Ronit Shukar, for her commitment to
the renewing the Zionist dream of Jewish agricultural labor and pioneering
modern Jewish agriculture in the Binyamin Region.
"Jews would not have come to the Middle East and started a country here if
we didn't have a historical connection," said Arnon in his acceptance
speech. "Without our history we have no connection to this land and no
Zionism . . . and it is my job to educate people about that history."
"You are among the few people who understand the challenges facing Israel
today," said Arnon, addressing the founders of the prize. "The challenges
are great and it is not yet time to rest, and may G-d give us the strength
Bar Lev described his work as a personal mission and spoke of it with great
enthusiasm. "Zionism to me is a love of the Land of Israel and to be willing
to do things for it. I merited to be a part of the new settlement movement,
and that was a big prize in of itself."
Shukar expressed her conviction that her deceased husband, Yossi, was
receiving a prize in the heavenly Jerusalem just as she was receiving one in
the physical world below. Shukar had originally begun her agricultural
enterprise as a partner with her husband; but when he was disabled and then
died following critical injuries sustained at work at the olive press, she
continued his dream of building a thriving Jewish community that could
support itself on its own agricultural labor, production and tourism.
"Avichai Elzakai, our youngest son" -- who was onstage with Shukar to accept
the award-- "is holding a branch from an olive tree, a Torah, and an Israeli
flag. This is the triangle of Zionism," said Shukar, referencing the
connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel, and the Torah.
"The Nation of Israel lives and endures."
For more information about the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, visit