At a celebratory ceremony held at the Beer Sheva Center for the Performing Arts on February 8, 2017,
Mayor Ruvik Danilovich presented the 2017 Distinguished Citizen of Beer Sheva Award to seven recipients who are involved in education, society, community, and academia.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was given to
Mr. Morton L. Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, who has contributed a total of approximately $450 million to causes in Israel. “It is a great privilege to award the highest honor of the city of Beer Sheva to an exemplary man, an ardent Zionist, who is a beacon of educational leadership, who believes in people and that ‘it’s all about who,’ and whose work is changing the face of Israeli society,” said Mayor Danilovich at the ceremony.
In presenting the awards, Mayor Danilovich was joined by
Dr. Hefzi Zohar, who holds the municipality’s education and welfare portfolios, and
Deputy Mayor Tal Elal, who holds the environment portfolio—both of whom are graduates of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.
In explaining their decision to grant the award to Mr. Mandel, the judges noted: “Morton Mandel is a true friend of the city of Beer Sheva…. He is a fervent believer in the development of the Negev, and actively engages in strengthening it and in improving the welfare of its residents. Among other initiatives, Mr. Mandel has founded the Mandel Institute for Social Leadership at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Lunada Children’s Museum, and the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev, which trains, guides, and mentors individuals and groups in education, leadership development, and leading change.”
“I know how important the Negev is for the future of Israel,” said Mr. Mandel in a video message shown at the ceremony. “I would like to congratulate the winners of the Distinguished Citizen award, and thank the selection committee for choosing me for the Lifetime Achievement Award. I am honored to receive this award from the Beer Sheva community and from the people of the Negev.”
The award was accepted on Mr. Mandel’s behalf by
Dr. Adi Nir-Sagi, director of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev.
Morton L. Mandel speaks about his special relationship with the Negev in a video shown at the award ceremony