Military Correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai Wins Israel Prize

Ben-Yishai was decorated after the Yom Kippur War for helping the wounded under fire and during the first Lebanon war reported on the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps

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Ron Ben-Yishai in 2014.
Ron Ben-Yishai in 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Yarden Zur
Yarden Zur

Journalist Ron Ben-Yishai, who has been covering Israel’s wars since the 1967 Six-Day War, has won the Israel Prize, the country’s most prestigious award.

The 74-year-old military correspondent and columnist for the website Ynet won for the category culture, arts, communications and sports, Education Minister Nafatli Bennett said late Thursday. He will receive the award on Independence Day.

Ben-Yishai, who began his career in the 1960s at Israel Radio, won for his “in-depth and trustworthy defense, military and international coverage while displaying courage for decades,” the prize committee said.

In a cartoon during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, referring to whether reporter Ron Ben-Yishai would be showing up, says 'we already started to worry!' Credit: Amos Biederman

“In his reporting, Ben-Yishai has faithfully reflected the events of the battles while stressing the moral aspect. During the first Lebanon war he was one of the first to report to the country’s leaders the dimensions of the slaughter by the Christian Phalangists in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. After the Yom Kippur War he was awarded the Chief of Staff’s Citation for his treatment of the wounded under fire.”

Ben-Yishai's interview from Waltz With Bashir on Sabra and Chatila Credit: New York Times

Ben-Yishai was born in 1943 and studied at a military academy in Haifa. He joined the paratroopers and eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the reserves.

He began his career as an economic-affairs reporter but soon switched to cover the military and accompanied Israeli forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He has since worked in television, radio and newspapers, mostly at the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Yedioth Ahronoth Group.

In the 1980s he led Army Radio and in the ‘90s was the last editor-in-chief of the daily Davar.

Bennett called Ben-Yishai “our correspondent for Israel’s wars. As a paratrooper and later a journalist he took part in all the wars at the front – from the Six-Day War through the Second Lebanon War – and even earned a commendation for his bravery in evacuating the wounded. Ben-Yishai is an excellent military correspondent who loves his people and country.”

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