Nov. 19, 2020


An exceptional oncologist who is developing a coronavirus vaccine, the first Bedouin doctor, the mayor of Dimona, two groundbreaking scientists, the head of the 'Enosh' NGO, the 'Kfar Refael' organization which created a unique healing community and two philanthropists are the 2020 recipients of the Ben-Gurion Award presented by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

BGU will award the Ben-Gurion Award to women and men who have made significant contributions in the spirit of Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion. 

The award ceremony is held annually on the date marking David Ben-Gurion's death. This year, the ceremony will be held virtually on November 22, 2020 at 6:00 PM Israel time at this link

​BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz lauded the recipients, "David Ben-Gurion's vision continues to resonate strongly with these award winners. We recognize their unique contributions - scientific breakthroughs alongside community action - those were Ben-Gurion's values, they are our values." 

2020 Ben-Gurion Award Recipients (in alphabetical order):


Dr. Yunis Abu Rabiya

The first Israeli Bedouin to receive an MD, he is a diabetes expert, and chair of the Coexistence and Friendship Organization of the Negev.

 Yunis Abu Rabia.jpg

Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU


​Ann Berger

CEO of the Rosetrees Trust. Rosetrees is a medical research charity based in London that provides funding for researchers in the UK and Israel, supporting 400 research projects. She also runs the Daniel Falkner Charitable Trust established by her late parents. It offers funding for Israeli scientists as well as Jewish charities in the UK.


Photo Credit: Private Album


​Benny Biton

Dimona Mayor Benny Biton has worked for three decades to improve employment, education, planning and building in his city. He has successfully convinced the government to invest in developing the Negev.

 Benny Biton.jpeg

Photo Credit: Yuval Chen


Dr. Shmuel Cabilly

A groundbreaking scientist, whose pioneering work in antibodies led to the "Cabilly Patent" which opened up new avenues of research leading to well-known cancer, autoimmune and neurological drugs.


Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU


Dr. Hilla Hadas

Executive director of Enosh: The Israeli Mental Health Association, who brought about revolutionary change in the field of mental health rehabilitation and who fights for their rights through legislation and raising awareness.

 Hila Hadas.jpg

Photo Credit: Ofer Chagiyov


Representatives of Kfar Rafael Remedial Community

Representatives of Kfar Rafael Remedial Community, who created a unique healing community in the heart of the Negev.


Photo Credit: Kfar Rafael


Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz

An outstanding researcher who was the founding director of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, she discovered the critical role the VDAC1 protein plays in the mitochondria and its relevance for many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases.


Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU


Caroline Simon

Honorary member of the Board of Governors and longtime supporter of the Faculty of Health Sciences along with her late husband Arnie. She has given tirelessly of her time and resources for decades.


Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU


Dr. Tal Zaks

Dr. Tal Zaks

The MD-PhD graduate of Ben-Gurion University, is chief medical officer of Moderna, one of the companies developing a coronavirus vaccine.

 Tal Zaks.jpg

Photo Credit: PR