Miriam Peretz has won the Israel Prize for her life’s work in strengthening Jewish-Israeli identity. Peretz is the mother of Uriel and Eliraz Peretz, two soldiers who were killed while on duty. Peretz was notified about the award by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. “I am not worthy of such an award,” Peretz said when she was told what had happened. “This award belongs to them, to Uriel and Eliraz. It is not mine. I am too small a figure to accept this gift.”
After notifying her about the award Bennett tweeted: “Miriam Peretz, who was bereaved of her two sons Uriel and Eliraz, has dedicated her life to educational endeavors. She did not choose the difficult circumstances of her life, but she did choose to live through them and through her work, she uplifted, inspired and invigorated an entire nation to live more fully.”
The committee tasked with deciding who receives the Israel Prize for each category said: “In addition to her all-encompassing work to help educate the youth and soldiers of Israel, she helps bereaved families and wounded soldiers. Peretz is a living symbol of the spirit of Judaism and Israel and has become a living symbol of giving to those less fortunate, to society, and to her community. We, therefore, decided to award her the highest of honors in the field of social and communal outreach.”
Miriam was born in Casablanca in Morocco in 1954. She immigrated to Israel in 1964 with her family. In Israel she married Eliezer Peretz and moved to Ophira in the Sinai, there she gave birth to Uriel and Eliraz. When the Sinai was evacuated in 1982, Peretz moved with her family to Givon and eventually to Pisgat Ze’ev where she still resides and where she had an additional four children. She was the first principal of a school in Givat Ze’ev. Today she works as a quality overseer of educational standards with the Ministry of Education. She has dedicated her life to education for decades.
On November 25th, 1998 Lieutenant Uriel Peretz was killed together with a commander of the Golani 51st brigade when they were ambushed in southern Lebanon.
On March 26th, 2010 her second son, Sergeant Major Eliraz Peretz was killed when he came across a terrorist cell inside the Gaza Strip.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)