1972 “DAVID’S VIOLIN”
1992 THE “HISTADRUTH PRIZE”
2007 “ISRAEL PRIZE”: Lifelong Endeavor – Special Contribution to Society and to the Country
The Israel Prize - State of Israel
Ministry of Education
March 25, 2007
Decision of Judges on Israel Prize for 2007
Field: Lifelong Endeavor – Special Contribution to Society and to the Country
Chairman: Professor Ezekiel Teller
Members: Dr. David Alexander, Mrs. Mirella Gal
Adviser to the Minister on Israel Prizes: Professor Dov Goldberger
In Charge of Israel Prizes: Mrs. Chaya Hurvitz
Decision: To award the Israel Prize in the field of lifelong endeavor – a special contribution to society and to the country – for the year 2007, to the Gevatron.
Rationale: Over its 55 years of existence, the Gevatron troupe has become a central figure in the cultural history of Israel – through its lyrical and musical compositions, its particular style, and the wonderful harmony among its singers, who are all from settlements in the Jezreel Valley. In a world ruled by short-lived, rapidly changing fashions, this troupe and its repertoire have long been a unique and meaningful phenomenon to its young listeners, as well as to their parents and grandparents.
More than a thousand singing groups have followed its lead and are presenting to the Israeli public in all its facets, its traditions that are such valuable assets to the culture of Israel.
For these reasons the committee of judges has found the Gevatron troupe to be worthy of the Israel Prize for lifelong endeavor – a special contribution to society and to the country.
Signed: Chairman: Professor Ezekiel Teller: Members: Dr. David Alexander; Mrs. Mirella Gal.
Adviser to the Minister: Professor Dov Goldberger In Charge of Israel Prizes: Mrs. Chaya Hurvitz
Israel Prize – Judges Rationale
“Because it’s a real truth, not a sign or a flag, or symbol;
The past is behind; it looks forward to the future.”
If you are looking for one line – out of the general repertoire listed to the Gevatron’s name – that would typify this particular singing group, it would be the words quoted above, taken from the refrain of one of its most popular songs, “The 60-Year-Old Opens Her Eyes”. (Lyrics by Didi Manossi, music by Kobi Oshrat) Indeed, the Gevatron troupe is a real thing, having an illustrious past, but still looking towards the future. Still, we might not agree that it isn’t a “flag” or a “symbol”, because somewhere during its 59 years with us, it has long since become a significant symbol in the history of Israeli culture.
In a world ruled by short-lived, rapidly changing fashions, the Gevatron – whose roots lie in the Jezreel Valley, but its high and spreading branches have reached us all – is an unusual phenomenon, and in the web of creative arts in Israel, it is a phenomenon that charms the young listener of today, just as it did his parents and grandparents.
The Gevatron – with its magical tones and harmonies, with its own particular songs, and with old songs refurbished with its special color – accompanies Israeli society in all walks of life: It takes us by the hand for a stroll through the multi-colored scenes of Israel, from an “Ocean of Sheaves” to the “Light of Jerusalem”. Its songs are with us on evenings of dancing, as well as at times of loss and bereavement; it introduced into our gatherings of community singing the warm, touching Russian songs, clothed in Hebrew. It gets along comfortably in the world of Jewish and Hassidic song – whether here in Israel or in Jewish communities elsewhere in the world. Its performance for the Jewish underground in Soviet Russia was just as natural as its performances for the soldiers of the IDF.
This troupe is a meaningful, central symbol in the history of Israeli culture, whose legacy has become valuable common property, for its unusual contribution to the web of creative arts in Israel that accompanies Israeli society in all walks of life; for its own special songs; for the songs renewed and clothed in its colors; and for being a constant and faithful agent of our rich Hebrew language, through its performances, records and distribution.
The Gevatron – the singing group of Kibbutz Geva in the Jezreel Valley – is one of the symbols of “the beautiful Israel”, and many of its songs are a conventional part of Israeli culture. The Gevatron is the oldest troupe in the country, and has succeeded in preserving its particular, beloved style throughout its 59 years.