Only a single woman thus far was announced to have won the 2018 Israel Prize, out of a total of 11 laureates. With two names yet to be announced, Yehudit Bronicki—who won the Israel Prize for Industry along with her husband Yehuda, it was announced Sunday—is the only woman on the list.
Last year, for comparison's sake, three of the nine winners were women—Prof. Nili Cohen, Prof. Malka Margalit and Ágnes Keleti.
"We've received today an acrimonious reminder of why International Women's Day is still relevant," a message by the Israel's Women Network said. "It's impossible that the Israel Prize committee cannot find women worthy of winning such an important prize in 2018.
"Shifting the blame to women's candidacies not being submitted is an excuse that should not be made. If no candidacies were submitted, a locating mechanism should be put in place. Israel has many women who have made important, unprecedented achievements that should be recognized by winning the Israel Prize."
Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli weighed in on the matter as well, saying, "A government that does not appoint female justices to the Supreme Court, attempts to boot women out of significant IDF service, separates women from Haredi and religious men in academia and in the public space—it's no wonder that it cannot find any women worthy of the Israeli Prize."
Kulanu MK Meirav Ben-Ari, who is a member of the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, commented as well, saying, "So long as the economy's senior positions continue to be dominated by men, so too will they be the ones winning the Israel Prize.
"Equality begins in academia, the military, the workplace and anywhere else men and women serve together. So long as gaps in these places are preserved, it should come as no surprise things look this way. It's certainly disappointing, however, and I can only hope that next year we'll see more women winning this important prize."
The following laureates have been announced thus far for Israel's highest civil honor: author David Grossman won the Literature Prize, mathematician Prof. Alexander Lubotzky won the Mathematics Prize, Ynet correspondent and commenter Ron Ben-Yishai won the Communications Prize, economist Prof. Sergiu Hart won the Economics Prize, psychology researcher Prof. Izchak Schlesinger won the Psychology Prize, physics researcher Prof. Shlomo Havlin won the Physics Prize, Hebrew language researcher Elisha Qimron won the Jewish Studies Prize, Yehuda and Yehudit Bronicki won the Industry Prize, cultural researcher Edwin Seroussi won the Culture, Art and Musicology Studies Prize and Check Point founder and CEO Gil Shwed won the first-ever Hi-Tech Prize.
In the coming days the two remaining winners will be announced, one of which is the laureate for the lifetime achievement award.
A message on behalf of Education Minister Naftali Bennett—whose ministry oversees the process—countered claims of a male-dominated prize, and said, "Firstly, the process of announcing winners is still ongoing, so it's too early to draw conclusions.
"Generally speaking, giving the Israel Prize to outstanding, trailblazing figures in their field is decided on by a professional committee and in accordance with the entirety of considerations it discusses.