Yair Zakovitch, 'One of the World's Most Original Bible Researchers,' to Receive Israel Prize

The Hebrew University's Prof. Zakovitch has 'developed an exceptional method for identifying interrelationships between the books of the Bible, through word games and interweaving of motifs,' prize committee says

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Professor Yair Zakovitch.
Professor Yair Zakovitch.Credit: Professor Yair Zakovitch

Professor Yair Zakovitch of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be awarded the Israel Prize in Bible studies, Education Minister Yoav Gallant announced on Tuesday.

“Yair Zakovitch is one of the most original Bible researchers in the country and the world,” the prize committee said in a statement on Tuesday, which mentions Zakovitch’s research of the “literary aspects of the Bible, the intra-biblical interpretation and its evolution.”

Zakovitch was born in Haifa and his research revolves around the literary aspects of the Bible and its internal interpretation. “In his works, he developed an exceptional method for identifying interrelationships between the books of the Bible, through word games and interweaving of motifs,” wrote the committee.

He taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for around 30 years and was the head of its Bible Studies department, as well as the head of the Institute of Jewish Studies and served as the dean of humanities.

Zakovitch was one of the founders of the Revivim program at the Hebrew University, which trains outstanding university students to teach Bible and Jewish studies in state schools. In addition to his academic positions, he served as the volunteer chairman of the Bible studies committee of the Education Ministry.

Along with his academic works, Zakovitch has also written for the general public. In recent years he published, along with his colleague Prof. Avigdor Shinan, commentaries on the biblical books of Jonah and Lamentations. The two are now working on another volume on the Book of Psalms.

Zakovitch is the father of five and the grandfather of nine. He lives in Moshav Givat Yeshayahu in central Israel.

The prize committee members included Professor Dvora Dimant, Professor Shmuel Ahituv and Professor Michael Sigal.

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