May 9, 2013
Chancellor of Ariel University, Yigal Cohen-Orgad, is also one of the institution’s founding fathers. He was instrumental in turning the vision for an academic center in Ariel, and more broadly in Judea and Samaria, into a remarkable reality: a full-fledged university with 13,500 students from all over the country. Yigal was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Israel and Zionism on May 9, 2013 in Jerusalem when he received the Moskowitz Prize’s “Lion of Zion” Award. The Prize is awarded every year to individuals who put Zionism into action for the benefit of the common good in order to ensure the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland.
Yigal played a central role in securing university status for Ariel University early this year despite opposition from academic and political sectors. He envisioned a university committed not only to the highest quality of education but also to Zionist ideals. Studies in Zionism form part of the core curriculum across all academic disciplines, which include engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, Yigal Cohen-Orgad received the Moskowitz Prize from Laurie (Moskowitz) Hirsch and Former Defense Minister, Prof. Moshe Arens, of the Prize Committee (Photo: Yissachar Ruas) ties, and communications.
In his remarks to the audience at the ceremony, Yigal shared how people often ask him how he defied all odds to create a university in Samaria, to which he replies: “As Israel’s first President, Prof. Chaim Weizman, expressed: ‘You don’t need to be crazy to be a Zionist, but it certainly helps.'”
Yigal has long exhibited his leadership capacities, initially as a youth leader in the Beitar movement and later as an educator. He fought for the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, and advanced the development of Judea and Samaria as a Knesset member in the 1970s and 1980s, during which he also served as Finance Minister under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Ariel Development Fund and American Friends of Ariel wish Yigal a well-deserved mazal tov and a thank him for being one of the “crazy” Zionists who helped propel the City of Ariel forward by developing one of Israel’s greatest achievements.