Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced that a leading Hebrew language academic, who has researched the Dead Sea Scrolls, was to be awarded the prestigious Israel Prize, considered one the country’s highest honors.
Elisha Qimron, a professor in the Hebrew language department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, won the prize for his research in the field of Jewish Studies, after Bennett approved the recommendation of the prize committee.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of 2,000-year-old Hebrew and Aramaic scrolls, were found 70 years ago by a Bedouin shepherd in cliffs near the Dead Sea. In total, 900 manuscripts and up to 50,000 fragments were uncovered in 11 caves.
Qimron has specialized in the grammar of the scrolls, and has published three volumes about the ancient writings.
President of Ben-Gurion University Rivka Carmi congratulated Qimron in a statement.
“Professor Kimron’s work in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is an important element in the study of Judaism and the study of the history of the Jewish people,” she wrote. “No one is more worthy than he of being the Israel Prize laureate in the country’s 70th year.”
The Israel Prize is presented each year at a ceremony held on Israel’s Independence Day. This year, Israel will mark 70 years since the establishment of the state in 1948. The prize is awarded in four categories of humanities, natural sciences, culture, and lifetime achievement.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.