The American Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz has launched an alternative to the Israel Prize, Army Radio reported on Friday.
Moskowitz, who is known for his sponsorship of Jewish housing projects in East Jerusalem, intends to award $100,000 to people and organizations who have made a major contribution to Zionism.
Brigadier-General (Res.) Avigdor Kahalani, who was decorated the IDF's Medal of Valor and is now a member of the prize selection panel, outlined the criteria for receiving the new prize: "We are looking for someone who incarnates the spirit of Zionism today; someone who makes an outstanding contribution to Israel and its security."
The selection panel will also include former Likud minister Moshe Arens, former Likud MK Uzi Landau and Nobel laureate Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann.
Moskowitz's initiative comes amid right-wing censure of the education minister's decision to offer Israel Prize to Prof. Ze'ev Sternell, a fierce critic of the settlement movement.
Right-wing politicians welcomed the announcement. "We are overlooking people who are active in the national-Zionist domain," said National Union MK Arieh Eldad. "I believe the Moskowitz Prize is capable of ending the discrimination against right wing candidates for Israel Prize."
The Moskowitz Prize will be awarded on the 60th Independence Day in May, and the family has vowed to make it an annual tradition.