The right-wing settlers, believe it or not, have their own Nobel Prize. Just as Alfred Nobel created his award based on a checkered fortune earned from manufacturing dynamite, Irving Moskowitz funds his “Lion of Zion” award based on his checkered fortune as a U.S. bingo and hospital mogul. The Moskowitz Prize is an attempt to add luster and prestige to the notion of killing Arabs and stealing their land. No doubt, had he lived, Meir Kahane would’ve been one of the first recipients.
But you have to admit, it sounds good:
The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism was established in recognition of the people who put Zionism into action in today’s Israeli society – at times risking their own personal security, placing the collective before personal needs, and doing what it takes to ensure a strong, secure Jewish homeland.
…The need for this special prize arose from the feeling, shared by many, that the true Zionist heroes in today’s Israel – those known to the public as well as those far outside the public spotlight – do not always receive the institutional recognition and public praise they deserve.
These are Israeli men and women acting from a feeling of personal responsibility, vision and national mission, each in his field, and often while sacrificing their personal welfare and even endangering their personal security.
This Lion of Zion prize is awarded to Israeli citizens, residents of Israel, who best personify modern Zionism in Israel in their actions addressing the challenges that face Zionism today – in spheres such as education, research, settlement, culture, defense and security.
Those last few words give away the entire premise of this award. Everything else is a smokescreen. They’re lionizing the most angry settler Jews. Not the ones necessarily who shoot the guns, but the intellectual authors of the most extreme of the settler movement.
Here’s how Max Blumenthal quotes last year’s $50,000 winner, Ronit Shuker, founder of the radical Shvut Rachel settlement:
When I interviewed [her] in May 2009, she spoke the same eliminationist language that might have resonated with Teitel. “The government doesn’t know how to deal with [the Palestinians],” Shuker told me. “If I was Prime Minister, I would send all of them to Iran, to Sudan, to Egypt, to Jordan. I would wish them all the best, but not in the land of Israel.”
In light of the following award criteria, I have a few nominees in mind:
After a long, careful process winners were chosen for the Prize – people whom the committee sees as reflecting the best of Zionist action, within the complex realities of Israel today – in the fields of social action, education and settling the Land.
Someone this award simply can’t do without is Jack Teitel. He is someone who:
…Does not see himself as an extraordinary person. Not as a hero, but as one who simply fulfills his duty, as an Israeli, to make Israel a better place – a safer, more just place, and at the end of the day – a more Zionist home.
How better to accomplish these goals than by killing unsuspecting Israeli police officers in protest of action against settlers; or masterminding the shooting spree that killed two Tel Aviv gay teenagers; or planting the bomb that wounded Hebrew University professor Zeev Sternhell? Teitel, by the way, hails from Shuker’s Shvut Rachel settlement. And while we’re at it, if we can make posthumous awards, Eden Natan-Zada is a shoe-in. This IDF deserter who sheltered in Tapuach (from whence came those who torched a mosque recently) and eventually murdered four Israeli Arabs on a bus before the passengers went berserk and tore him limb from limb. A third stellar candidate would be Asher Weissgan, another Jewish settler terrorist (though not a hero) who made Israel a better place by offing several Palestinian laborers who had the misfortune of taking him up on his offer of a lift home. And where did Weissgan hail from? Shvut Rachel of course.
It’s no accident, by the way, that Haaretz notes Moskowitz came up with his idea for his Prize after the Israeli government awarded its highest honor, the Israel Prize, to one of Israel’s harshest settler critics, none other than Prof. Zeev Sternhell.
Moskowitz is one of the major backers of the settler project to de-Arabize East Jerusalem and has financed the “purchase” (usually under suspicious circumstances) of various Palestinian properties there. The existing residents are evicted and make way for settler families who proudly wave their Israeli flags and rub their Arab neighbors nose in the fact that the latter might be the next to go.