The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has removed three judges from the country’s Israel Prize, equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Netanyahu accused them of holding “extremist views” and not reflecting “Israeli society.” It is the first time an Israeli government minister has intervened in the country’s intellectual life.
It is a very typical Netanyahu decision with all the autobiographic background and all his way of thinking. The way of thinking of the right-wingers in Israel is that they were discriminated against for many, many years in this country and now it’s time for revenge. They [have been] in power for two decades and still they feel that they didn’t reach all the power positions in the country. Now it’s about conquering one of the last outposts - and this is the intellectual lead which unfortunately are mainly lefties, not right-wing, not all of it but part of it. Therefore, Netanyahu …decided that he is going to interfere also in the intellectual scene, mainly to decide who will get the Israeli Prize especially in literature and in cinema. He did so and the backfire was so strong that he had to retreat.