Journalistic prizeJournalistic prize

David Horovitz given B’nai B’rith award

ToI’s founding editor highlights journalism’s responsibilities, calls to retain Israel’s Jewish character and democratic core

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

David Horovitz speaks at the B'nai B'rith awards ceremony, June 2014 (photo credit: Bruno Charbit / Courtesy B'nai B'rith)
David Horovitz speaks at the B'nai B'rith awards ceremony, June 2014 (photo credit: Bruno Charbit / Courtesy B'nai B'rith)

Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz received the B’nai B’rith World Center Lifetime Achievement Award Sunday evening.

He was honored along with Channel 10’s Matan Hodorov, Judy Maltz from Ha’aretz, and songwriter Nurit Hirsh.

The series of awards, now in their 22nd year, are given to journalists whose writing and reporting shed light on the ongoing relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.

In congratulating Horovitz on his award, guest lecturer and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) said Horovitz’s years of journalism work were “holy,” and offered a “real opportunity to the State of Israel.”

Asher Weill, explaining the judges’ considerations, called the rise of The Times of Israel, which launched in February 2012, “unprecedented.”

Horovitz, who moved to Israel in 1983 and soon began working at The Jerusalem Post, thanked his wife, Lisa, for putting up with the “sheer, relentless awfulness of being married to a journalist.”

He also thanked former colleagues at the Post and the Jerusalem Report, and called The Times of Israel, “something of a miracle,” especially given the “battered profession of journalism.”

Said Horovitz: “The Times of Israel is something of a miracle. I have a partner-investor Seth Klarman who has placed his full confidence in our editorial hierarchy, and is just endlessly supportive. For those of the younger staff for whom this is the norm, you don’t know how rare it is.”

He went on to say “a few words too about our battered profession, which is economically so troubled. I think journalism is a noble field… Honest, independent journalism is the most effective way to keep our leaders honest. Fair and honest journalism is also crucial to informing the nation what’s being done in its name, and what its options are, to enable the people to make smart, informed choices about who should lead and which policies they should favor. But honest, fair, independent journalism is in ever shorter supply around the world, most certainly including in Israel. Which, again, is why I believe so strongly in the importance of The Times of Israel, striving to inform and thus empower its readers, to give them access to all the conflicting narratives and choices — and now publishing in several languages, notably including Arabic… I’m proud to think that in a world with so much partisan, shrill and incitement-filled media, we’re part of the antidote.”

“Finally,” he said, “I think it would be wrong not to use this opportunity to briefly highlight my own conviction that this Israel we live in, and love, simply has to strive to retain both its Jewish character and its democratic core. I don’t have a panacea, and I have no illusions about the hostility to Israel, the loathing of the very fact of Israel’s existence, that is so widespread among Palestinians and in the wider neighborhood. But at the same time as we do what we have to do to protect ourselves here… we also have to do everything we can to at least try to help create a climate that, however long it takes, and however much we cannot do it alone, offers the eventual possibility of a more peaceful future — one that guarantees us a secure, Jewish, democratic, fine Israel. And may the three kidnapped Israelis come safely, speedily home.”

The ceremony ended with a brief performance by Hirsh, who has written 1,500 songs, including some of Israel’s best known tunes, which have become part of the Israeli lexicon.

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