Two University of Haifa faculty members have recently been presented with one of Israel’s most prestigious awards, the EMET Prize. Prof. (Emeritus) and acclaimed author A.B. Yehoshua, and Prof. Ronit Matalon, also a renowned Israeli novelist, were awarded the annual prize in the Arts and Literature category.
The EMET Prize was established by Mexican friend of Israel Alberto Moscona Nisim who set up the corresponding A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in 1999. “The intention of the A.M.N. Foundation,” said Mr. Nisim, “through the award of the EMET Prizes, is to acknowledge those who view excellence as a way of life and the fulfillment of human potential as essential to creating a better world for future generations.”
The EMET Prize is administered by the Award Committee comprised of representatives appointed by the Prime Minister and the A.M.N. Foundation.
Both academics, from the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Humanities, won the prize for combining their literary achievements with their dedication to teaching new generations of Israeli writers and scholars over several years. They join an illustrious group which includes 2015 winner Prof. Miriam Ben Peretz, of the Faculty of Education.
Professor Yehoshua is the author of eleven novels, three books of short stories, four plays, and four collections of essays, including Ahizat Moledet (Homeland Lesson, 2008), a book of reflections on identity and literature. His best received novel, Mr. Mani, is a multigenerational look at Jewish identity and Israel through five conversations that go backwards in time to cover over 200 years of Jewish life in Jerusalem and around the Mediterranean basin.
As do many of his works, Professor Yehoshua’s eighth novel, Friendly Fire, explores the nature of dysfunctional family relationships in a drama that here moves back and forth between Israel and Tanzania. His works have been published in translation in 28 countries, and many have been adapted for film, television, theatre, and opera. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew literature in 2005.
Professor Matalon, born in Ganei Tikva, Israel, the daughter of Egyptian-Jewish immigrants, began her career as a journalist. She has become an important feminist-oriental voice in contemporary Hebrew literature, and has published essays on the desire to portray alternative eastern-western characterizations, to the categorizations in existing Israeli literature.
Professor Matalon has published eight novels and received the Bernstein Prize in 2009 for The Sound of Our Steps. She is also a liberal social activist, and has participated in demonstrations organized by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. She is a member of the Art and Culture Council of the Ministry of Education, and the Forum for Mediterranean Culture at the Van Leer Institute.