Israel Prize awarded to ex-MK who died a day ago

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

The Education Ministry says it is awarding the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement to Edna Solodar, a former Knesset member and fighter in Israel’s War of Independence who died yesterday at the age of 94, the government announces.

In an unusual term of events, the notice said, the selection committee had decided on Solodar yesterday but then learned of her passing. Education Minister Yoav Kisch, whose ministry oversees the Israel Prize, notified her sister of the posthumous award shortly after. Solodar’s funeral is to be held today.

Edna Solodar. (Knesset website)

Solodar was born in 1930 during the British Mandate and grew up in Kibbutz Gesher. She was 18 when the War of Independence broke out in 1948 and was a member of the Haganah, serving as a radio operator and communications operative.

A former music teacher, Solodar was active in the Kibbutz Movement and entered politics in the 1980s, eventually serving as a Knesset member in1982-1992 for the Labor party and for the Alignment party, a smaller faction which had merged with the then-dominant Labor.

“Ms. Edna Solodar is a symbol of female leadership and with her extraordinary life path, reflects the face of Israeli society…she was a kibbutz movement leader and as part of her many years of parliamentary activity, worked to strengthen the periphery, preserve natural heritage, encouraged agricultural settlements and was a model for unity and connection,” the government statement says.

The Israel Prize has been given posthumously several times in the past, most notably for poet Leah Goldberg in 1970, who had passed away that same year.

In a separate notice sent today, veteran filmmaker Moshe Edri also received the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, for his “groundbreaking work and significant contribution to Hebrew arts and to the encouragement of Israeli cinema.”

Edri, 74, was born in Morocco and immigrated with his family at a young age to Dimona, where he developed a lifelong interest in cinema. An extremely important figure in the Israeli film industry, he is the producer and director of dozens of classic Israeli films. Edri, along with his brother Leon and other partners, also owns a film distribution company and the Cinema City theater chain, among other ventures.

The Israel Prize is handed out during the national Independence Day ceremony, which this year falls on May 14. The event is to be held this year in Sderot instead of Jerusalem, the latest twist in a series of controversies around this year’s prize, which at one point saw the regular categories removed in favor of two newly created war-related awards. The former have now been restored alongside the new prizes.

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