Zionist Art Prize Aims to Counter Boycott of Ariel

Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat told the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee yesterday she intends to launch a ministerial Zionist art award. The award will be given to any art work dealing with Zionist undertakings and in key figures in Zionist history.

Eligible will be institutions and artists in performing arts, visual arts and cinema.

Sources in Livnat's ministry said yesterday the announcement was timed to confront what they defined as the delegitimizing of residents of Ariel by artists who decided to boycott the cultural center there.

The minister made the remarks during a brief ceremony to welcome incoming Education, Culture and Sports committee chairman MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu ), who will be replacing MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi ).

Also present at the ceremony were Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

The education minister praised Orlev, saying that he worked closely with the departing chairman on moves he intended to carry out.

"I'm convinced Alex will be a similar partner, and I'm sure that a committee chaired by him will be successful, since he is caring, professional, and most of all because he is the son of a teacher," Sa'ar said.

"Getting into Zevulun Orlev's shoes is a challenge and an opportunity," Lieberman said. "The most important thing is undoubtedly getting your priorities right. If I was chairman I'd probably hold the first discussion about Beitar Jerusalem."

"At the end of day, our most important resource as a nation is the Israreli-Jewish mind, and the chairman must promote education, so that in the next international exams Israel will head the rankings," Lieberman said.