The late mayor of the settlement city of Ariel will be awarded the high-profile Israel Prize posthumously, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said Sunday.

Ron Nachman, who died in January at the age of 70 after a prolonged struggle with cancer, will get the lifetime achievement prize along with music expert Eliyahu Hacohen.

Eliyahu Hacohen (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Zeev Galili/Wikimedia Commons)

Eliyahu Hacohen (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Zeev Galili/Wikimedia Commons)

Former Likud MK Nachman, known for his fiery personality and commanding media presence, helped establish Ariel in 1978 and served as its first mayor.

He became its mayor again in 1985 and filled the post until his death, seeing it evolve from a small hilltop settlement into one of the largest Israeli cities in the West Bank, complete with a university and some 20,000 residents.

Sa’ar praised Nachman and lamented the fact that the award did not come sooner.

“Ron Nachman was a giant pioneer, a man of vision and deed, and one of the few whose life’s work lives on for everyone to see,” he said. “Unfortunately he did not win the prize in his lifetime, but it’s good that next Yom Ha’atzma’ut Israel will pay him its debt of honor.”

Both Hacohen and Nachman were approved by Sa’ar as the recipients of the prize — which will be given on Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Independence Day — after being chosen by a committee headed by former judge Jacob Turkel.

Hacohen is the recipient of many awards for his music-related scholarship, and in 2010 was presented a special award for life achievement by Bar-Ilan University.

The 77-year-old lectures on classic Israeli music and hosts talk shows on TV and radio. He has published a number of books and dozens of articles on the subject.