High Court orders education minister to respond to Israel Prize petitions next week

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

The High Court of Justice orders Education Minister Yoav Kisch and the government to respond within one week to petitions demanding that he reverse his decision to drastically pare down the Israel Prize for 2024.

Shahar Ben Meir and the Bashaar academic association filed petitions to the court against Kisch’s decision after it emerged that the education minister had shrunk the annual Israel Prize awards to just two war-related categories this year. It was alleged that he had done so to avoid bestowing the Entrepreneurship Award on the leading candidate, tech entrepreneur Eyal Waldman, a prominent critic of the government’s judicial overhaul agenda.

The High Court says it is setting a short timeline for the case since Independence Day, when the Israel Prize ceremony is held, is just two months away, and orders Kisch and the state to file their responses by March 21.

The petitioners have until March 26 to submit their substantive arguments to the court.

The court accedes to a request made by judges on one of the Israel Prize selection committees to bar the publication of the names of the committee members and their reasoning regarding the awardee.

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