The Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and exceptional contribution to the nation in 2016 will go to Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog and Rabbi Eli Sadan.
The prize jury said that after 35 years in uniform, Almog led “a revolution in society’s attitude to people with special needs.”
The panel said the rehabilitation village Almog founded for adults with multiple disabilities allows its residents to have meaningful and dignified lives.
It noted that his decision to locate Aleh-Negev in southern Israel stemmed from his deep Zionist commitment to the region and involved the cooperation of local communities.
Sadan established, in 1988, a pre-army program, the first of its kind for religious Zionists. A decade later he helped create a similar program for teens who are not religiously observant.
“Sadan’s work not only led to a desire to give more meaningful service to the army and create better citizens, but was also a bridge linking different parts of Israeli society,” the jury said.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that just as Almog had risked his life fighting for Israel’s security in uniform, he was now fighting for the weaker members of society.
Bennett called Sadan a “Zionist revolutionary,” thanks to whom “thousands of young men and women had benefited from meaningful service in the army.”