Shimon Mizrahi, the chairman of the board of legendary basketball club Maccabi Tel Aviv, will be awarded the Israel Prize for his contribution to athletics, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced yesterday.
Mizrahi, who has long been the most recognizable face at Maccabi, was selected by a blue-ribbon panel of experts, including retired basketball star Tal Brody and former track and field star Esther Roth-Shahamorov.
In its decision, the panel said that Mizrahi "introduced new administrative procedures in the field of sports."
"His continued activity, which he has done on a voluntary basis through the course of many years, led to a greater public awareness of basketball while maintaining a high standard of quality management in Israeli sports," the panel said in a statement. "Mizrahi's work as an attorney and his efforts in national and international forums have elevated Israeli sports in general, and basketball in particular."
"I'm very happy and moved," Mizrahi said. "This is an appreciation of 42 years of work on a volunteer basis. I want to thank all of the members of Maccabi management and the team. This is really a prize for the entire club. I never did anything in order to win a prize, but to know that I am appreciated brings me great joy. It gives me strength to continue in this industry for years to come."
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