The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem honored the 2014 winners of the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportaģe in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf. The winners were recognized at a ceremony held at Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on June 29. Minister of Economy, Religious Services, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett delivered the opening address on “A New Partnership—Israel and the Diaspora.”
Matan Hodorov, chief economic correspondent for Channel 10 News, won in the broadcast media category, while Judy Maltz, senior writer for Ha'aretz, took home the award in the print media category. The judges also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to David Horovitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel and former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post and Jerusalem Report. The award was given to Horovitz for his dedication to extended Diaspora reportaģe spanning a 30-year career.
"We need other reasons for the existence of the State of Israel, beyond it being a heaven for Jews because if that is the essence of the state's existence, we will not be here for long because there are other places that are safer for Jews," Bennett said. "Until now we looked at the Jewish Diaspora as either a wallet for fundraising or as a source of immigrants. Under the government's new initiative, the State of Israel will allocate tax payers’ funds in order to maintain Jewish identify in the Diaspora and to build a true partnership between Israel and the Diaspora."
Hodorov received the award in the broadcast media category for his four-part series entitled “The New Immigrants.” The series focused on the growing phenomenon of emigration of young Israelis to the United States and Europe due to financial hardships they faced in Israel and the formation of new Jewish clusters in the Diaspora. Before becoming chief economic correspondent at Channel 10 in 2009, Hodorov served as a financial correspondent at Galai Zahal for six years.
Maltz took home the award in the print media category for a large body of work that appeared in Ha'aretz—in both Hebrew and English—during 2013, including articles about the Greek, Brazilian, Ugandan, Yemenite, American, British and Hungarian Jewish communities. Maltz has also written for The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report and Globes.
In receiving his Lifetime Achieve Award, Horovitz addressed the audience: "Journalism is a noble field. We elect politicians to run our countries because that is the most logical way to organize our national lives, but power inevitably corrupts and honest, independent journalism is the most effective way to keep our leaders honest. Fair and honest journalism is also crucial to informing the nation of what is being done in its name and what its options are, to enable the people to make smart, informed choices about who should lead and which policies they should favor. But honest, fair journalism is in ever-shorter supply around the world most certainly, including in Israel. This Israel we love must strive to maintain its Jewish character and democratic core."
The evening ended with the presentation of a special citation to Israeli musician and composer Nurit Hirsh in recognition of her contribution to fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts. Hirsh has honorably represented the State of Israel around the world for more than 50 years, having composed more than 1,500 songs and put on many moving performances. Her songs have been published in a collection of six books and 13 albums. Many of Hirsh’s popular songs in Diaspora communities serve as a bridge, a language and a source of shared identity between Israel and Jewish communities around the world, between communities and within communities themselves.
Following the presentation, Hirsh sung a medley of her most famous songs, accompanied by the Education Corp Troupe.
The distinguished members of the award jury are: Chairman Asher Weill, publisher and editor of ARIEL - The Israel Review of Arts and Letters from 1981 to 2003; Yehudith Auerbach, professor in the School of Communication at Bar Ilan University; Eytan Bentsur, former Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general; Sara Frenkel, former Diaspora correspondent for Israel Radio and 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award winner; Shalom Kital, former director general of News Company and Channel 2; Tamar Liebes, professor and former head of the Department of Communication and Journalism at Hebrew University; Gabriela Shalev, professor and chair of the Higher Academic Council at Ono Academic College, as well as a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations; and Bambi Sheleg, founder and editor-in-chief of Eretz Acheret, and a 2011 award winner.
The B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf and his wife Hilda. Wolf was an editor of the B’nai B’rith World Center Journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia. Hilda was a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel. The Lifetime Achievement Award is named for Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky. The Award is made possible through donations from Daniel Schydlowsky, a professor and a member of the B’nai B’rith World Center International Board of Governors, and the Matsdorf family.