Education Ministry must make changes to the "Jewish Culture Award"

Adalah: Without parallel award, it marginalizes and insults human dignity of Arab artists and Arab community.

On 2 February 2016, Adalah sent a letter to Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit calling for changes to the "Jewish Culture Award" provided by the ministry. Adalah argued that the award, in its current form, discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel.


The Education Minister recently announced a prize of NIS 150,000 (about US $38,460) in many technical fields for innovators or for those who made an important contribution to "Jewish culture" in Israel. The total amount allocated for these awards are NIS 900,000 (about US $230,770).


Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stated in the letter that the award is unacceptable discrimination and an insult: "This award is not offered in parallel to any other award with a similar financial value to recognize and encourage artists in their creativity and cultural activity in the Arab community." The letter adds that the award to encourage Jewish culture without Arab culture constitutes a "nationalist point of view that Arab culture and Arab creators confer less prestige on the state, that their cultural production is not desirable, and that they do not deserve appreciation and recognition. This not only marginalizes the Arab community, but also insults the human dignity of Arab creative artists, and the dignity of their community in Israel as a whole, as the ministry sends the message that Arab culture in the state is less valuable than the Israeli Jewish majority culture."


In light of this, Adalah demanded that the Education Ministry work to allocate an additional prize with a similar value for Arab culture and Arab creators, or alternatively, to change the existing objectives of the award to include Arab citizens and Arab culture creators.


Read the letter