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An Open Letter from the President and Former Presidents of the Academy Regarding the Minister of Education’s Decision Not to Award the Israel Prize to Professor Oded Goldreich

The President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and its former presidents express their protest and deep sorrow over the final decision of the Minister of Education, Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton, not to award the Israel Prize in Mathematics and Computer Science to Professor Oded Goldreich, due to his political views and actions.
The sole criterion for awarding the Israel Prize in the scientific fields is excellence in research. It is thanks to this that the prize retains the position of the highest honor that the State of Israel bestows upon its scientists. The Prize Committee repeatedly found Professor Goldreich worthy of receiving the Israel Prize, for his accomplishments and excellence in research.
The President of the Academy and its former presidents view with great concern the involvement of political considerations in decisions regarding the awarding of the Israel Prize to scientists, and express their strong protest against it. Political statements and actions, as in the present case, which are permissible according to the principle of freedom of expression, are irrelevant to the awarding of the prize. Under these circumstances, the current decision damages the status of the prize and that of Israeli science as a whole, as well as Israel’s scientific standing worldwide.
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities was established by law (1960/5721). Under this law, the Academy is required to advise the Government of Israel on subjects related to research and scientific planning that are of national importance, and is entrusted with the advancement of scientific excellence in Israel.
Professor David Harel, President (elected 2021)
Professor Nili Cohen, President Emerita (2015-2021)
Professor Ruth Arnon, President Emerita (2010–2015)
Professor Menahem Yaari, President Emeritus (2004–2010)
Professor Jacob Ziv, President Emeritus (1995–2004)
Professor Joshua Jortner, President Emeritus (1986–1995)
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