מר משה מושקוביץ
The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, established by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, for the year 5768 – 2008, was awarded to Mr. Moshe Moshkovitz for over sixty years of activity and dedication in the areas of education, community and settlement; for his personal role in the establishment of communities and educational institutions throughout Israel; and for his vision of renewed settlement of Gush Etzion after the Six Day War and the realization of that vision with the establishment of the communities of the Gush, the Har-Etzion yeshiva, and the city of Efrat.
Mr. Moshe Moshe Moshkovitz was born in Czechoslovakia in 1925, and made aliyah with his family in 1935. He was among the founders of the Masuot Yitzchak group that settled in Gush Etzion in 1945. After the fall of Gush Etzion in the War of Independence, he was among the founders of Kibbutz Masuot Yitzchak, where he is still a member today.
Early in the 1950s, as founder and head of the fledgling Shafir Regional Council, Moshko, as he is lovingly known, established a regional school which practiced full social integration between the children of immigrants and the children of veteran residents– a major innovation at that time. After a number of years, he also established the Or Etzion yeshiva high school.
Later, together with Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, he set up the Tsomet Institute, which deals with the development of technological-halachic applications; he created the Menorah association, which works to save synagogues and Torah scrolls in the Diaspora; and he established additional public institutions and organizations dealing in education, academics, community and settlement as well.
After the Six Day War and the liberation of Gush Etzion, Moshe Moshkovitz led the renewal of settlement in Gush Etzion, utilizing an innovative framework of his own creation for the establishment of the first community settlement in Israel – Alon Shvut. From those years up to the present day, most of the new communities across the country are in accordance with the model of community settlement that he initiated. This model was even used to as a life saver for the reorganization of scores of kibbutzim and moshavim that faced the danger of economic and communal disintegration, and his advice was sought in establishing many other communities such as Gush Katif.
Along with Rabbi Yehuda Amital, he established the Har Etzion hesder yeshiva — the largest hesder yeshiva in the country– and to this day he serves as the head of its directorate.
In the early 1980s, Moshko’s vision and persistence led to the establishment of Efrat, where again he served as its first mayor; the city now numbers over ten thousand residents and is an educational and urban center in the heart of Gush Etzion.
In 1997 he was elected chairman of the directorate of Hechal Shlomo, the Center for Jewish Tradition in Jerusalem, and renewed the activities of the Wolfson Family Judaica Museum.
In 2002 he established the Timora association and he heads it as well. The association runs an educational program and deals in educational solutions for alienated youth; the Yiftach School was established in the Avnat community, an educational community established on the shores of the Dead Sea, in the Megilot Regional Council, with over 50 students currently attending. Recently, a parallel institution for girls was established in Mechola, where twenty students are already studying.
Moshko heads a long list of public bodies dealing in education and academia, among them “Shaarei Mishpat,” a law school in Hod Hasharon with over 1,700 students.
Finally, Moshe Moshkovitz continues to be personally involved in a broad range of activities in the area of settlement, as both visionary and advisor, across the country. עד מאה ועשרים!