University presidents defend free speech in prize dispute

Presidents of Israeli universities released a joint letter on Friday 9 April criticising the government’s decision to withhold the country’s most prestigious prize from a scholar over his political views, saying it “severely harms free speech and free thought”, reports Agencies and The Times of Israel.

Israel’s top court on Thursday 8 April upheld Education Minister Yoav Gallant’s move to temporarily block Oded Goldreich from receiving this year’s Israel Prize in mathematics and computer science over claims he supports the Palestinian-led international boycott movement targeting Israel, allegations he denies.

“Denying a person a prize due to their political beliefs contradicts the basic principle of the Israel Prize and severely harms free speech and free thought,” the letter said. “Your decision creates the difficult impression that only those who ‘toe the line’ will be rewarded, and anyone who dares express a political opinion outside of the consensus will be punished.”
Full report on The Times of Israel site