Veteran defense correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai awarded Israel Prize in Journalism
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Veteran defense correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai awarded Israel Prize in Journalism

Education Minister lauds 74-year-old as 'our correspondent for Israel's affairs,' adding that he was 'on the front lines' of wars as both a soldier and reporter

Ron Ben-Yishai speaks during an interview with Israeli Educational Television on April 2, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Ron Ben-Yishai speaks during an interview with Israeli Educational Television on April 2, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett notified veteran defense correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai on Thursday that he was selected to win this year’s Israel Prize in Journalism.

In announcing the decision on Twitter, Bennett referred to Ben-Yishai, who currently writes for the Ynet news site, as “our correspondent for Israel’s affairs.”

The Jerusalem native fought “on the front lines” from the 1967 Six Day War to the 2006 Second Lebanon War, “as a paratrooper and later as a journalist,” Bennett wrote, also referencing the citation Ben-Yishai received for his bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

“An excellent defense journalist who loves his people and country,” the education minister concluded.

The prize committee released a statement to explain the choice, saying that Ben-Yishai provided decades of “thorough and reliable security, military, and international coverage”

The journalist “faithfully” reported on Israel’s wars “with an emphasis on the aspect of morality,” the committee said, highlighting his reporting of the Sabra and Shatila massacres carried out by Christian militias against Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut under the watch of Israeli forces during the First Lebanon War.

The 74-year-old Ben Yishai grew up in Jerusalem and attended a pre-military boarding school in Haifa.

He served as a platoon commander in the Paratroopers Brigade, advancing to the rank of lieutenant colonel before serving as the unit’s head of intelligence gathering.

He began his journalism career in 1966 as the economic correspondent for Army Radio before moving on to become the military correspondent for Israel Radio.

In 1978, he was hired by Yedioth Ahronoth to serve as its Washington correspondent, taking over the military and security beat for the publication three years later.

In 1983, Ben-Yishai was named commander of Army Radio and he served in the position for three years before eventually returning to Yedioth Ahronoth and later moving to Ynet, where he today functions as the defense correspondent.

Ben-Yishai is also an ever-present face on Israel’s television news shows, where he frequently serves as an defense analyst.

Ben-Yishai will be officially awarded the Israel Prize at this year’s Independence Day celebrations on April 19.

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