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Mandelblit says BDS accusation not enough to strip Israel Prize from professor

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit says the Israel Prize should be granted to Prof. Oded Goldreich, after Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton ordered it be withheld over the mathematician’s supposed support for anti-Israel boycotts.

Mandelblit says in an opinion submitted to the High Court that evidence presented by Shasha-Biton to back her decision does not rise to a level that would justify stripping him of the honor.

Goldreich, a professor of computer science at Israel’s Weizmann Institute, was supposed to receive the prize earlier this year for his work on computational complexity theory. However, the previous education minister, Yoav Gallant, alleged that Goldreich backed the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Goldreich has denied backing BDS, but said he objects to West Bank settlements. In March, Goldreich signed a petition urging the European Union to stop funding for Ariel University, located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

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