Likud MKs have come out in defense of their chairman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, following attacks from the political Left for his refusal to appoint two judges to the Israel Prize's Literature Committee.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) said Thursday morning that "it is time to stop the aggressive hegemony of the left and the radical left in Israel's cultural establishment."
"The prize committee has become a 'buddy referral system' creating a clique difficult to penetrate," she accused.
Regev then referenced a State Comptroller report from 2010, in which it is stated that the "the prestige of the Israel Prize requires that the selection committee be fair, equitable, devoid of personal interest, and will generate respect for all winners."
However, that same report found conflicts of interest and other shortcomings in the Israel Prize's selection committees.
"The author [of that report] determined that the selection process is not transparent and is conducted ins secret, creating a situation in which there is no correlation between the majority of the population and the award recipients over the years," Regev asserted.
"From the 620 prize winners so far, only 90 are women and only five are non-Jews," the MK noted. "In general, this current storm is unwarranted. He [Netanyahu] didn't disqualify judges already serving, but just decided not to appoint them."
Fellow Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin also expressed his support for the Prime Minister, urging him "not to give up despite the unbridled attacks of the Left."
"There is no reason in the world that people who call for civil disobedience and act against the State of Israel, no matter how great their artistic achievements, should represent the Israeli public as part of the Israel Prize selection committee."
According to Elkin, it's time stop the 'referral buddy system' and ensure that control over the distinguished prize be "wrested away from the extreme, radical Left."