Israel Prize winner plans to donate cash reward to pro-Palestinian group

Hebrew University's Prof. David Shulman. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Prof. David Shulman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a winner of the Israeli government’s prestigious Israel Prize, released a video announcing that he intends to donate his 75,000 NIS ($20,000) cash reward to the pro-Palestinian organization Ta’ayush.

In the video posted online Wednesday, Shulman talks about his 15 years of working with Ta’ayush and criticizes the Israeli settlement movement’s actions toward Palestinians.

Ta’ayush is a joint effort of Palestinians and Israelis who are “striving together to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action,” the group’s website states.

Shulman said he had mulled whether or not to even accept the Israel Prize because of the “general deterioration of the situation and the witch-hunt against Ta’ayush, peace, and human rights activists by a right-wing establishment determined to perpetuate the occupation.” 

In January, Ta’ayush was one of two left-wing Israeli NGOs—B’Tselem being the other—who came under fire after the activities of their senior leaders were exposed by the “Uvda” investigative television program of Israel’s Channel 2. According to that report, Ta’ayush and B’Tselem help the Palestinian Authority (PA) detain, torture, and potentially kill Palestinians who are selling land to Israeli Jews. Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi was caught on camera discussing an encounter with Palestinian land sellers to whom he pretended to be interested in buying land. “Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the [PA’s] Preventive Security Force,” Nawi said in the footage.

Shulman will receive the prize on Thursday for his research on the languages and culture of southern India.

“Prof. Shulman is known for a variety of publications in these areas, which has brought him renown in Israel and in the world, and he has won cooperation with leading researchers in the field,” the Israel Prize committee stated. “His outstanding research in diversity deals with different literary issues and numerous research topics including: religion, myth, art, folklore, and imagination. In Israel he founded the field of study of India and the majority of researchers of India in Israel are his students.”

Posted on May 11, 2016 .