Mellanox CEO Waldman: ‘I believe minister’s instructions came from above’ to stop my Israel Prize nomination

Mellanox founder Eyal Waldman speaks at the Knesset on March 3, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Mellanox founder Eyal Waldman speaks at the Knesset on March 3, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Mellanox founder Eyal Waldman, whose nomination for an Israel Prize allegedly led to the scrapping of a number of award categories this year, tells the Knesset Science Committee that he has been told that an associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to ensure he would not get the nod for the award.

Waldman, a prominent government critic, charges that businessman Shlomi Fogel exerted heavy pressure on the members of the nominating committee so that they would recommend another candidate “from the right sector.”

The entrepreneur says that his potential nomination for the award “did not go down well with Education Minister Yoav Kish, the prime minister’s associates, and perhaps the prime minister himself.”

“I believe [Kisch] did not act on his own accord but according to instructions from above,” Waldman says.

Kisch, whose ministry is responsible for the annual prize, decided to shrink the award to a couple of war-related categories this year reportedly in order to prevent Waldman from winning after the selection committee wouldn’t back down.

“The claim that awards are not given out in time of war is not only an invented claim, but it is also a ridiculous claim,” Waldman says, according to Channel 12. “It is precisely in time of war that the civilian fields of entrepreneurship, science and culture must be strengthened.”

“Families sacrifice what is dearest to them and the best of our children have lost their lives to protect and preserve civil society. A country where culture, science and entrepreneurship are abolished ceases to be a democratic country. Precisely in these terrible times, civil society must be strengthened,” Waldman says.

Waldman’s daughter Danielle was among 364 people who were slaughtered by terrorists at a music festival on October 7 when Palestinian terror group Hamas led a devastating attack that killed 1,200 people amid horrific atrocities. The thousands of attackers who burst through the border from Gaza also abducted 253 people who were taken as hostages and held in the Strip.

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