Four Israelis awarded French Order of Arts and Letters

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Yossi Tal-Gan, Director of the Israel Festival, James Snyder, Director of the Israel Museum, Dubi Lenz, broadcaster and lecturer on World Music, and film maker Raphael Nadjari will be honored for their cultural achievements on June 29, 2010 by French Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot. They will be awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Letters), one of France’s most distinguished titles.

The Order of Arts and Letters was established on May 2, 1957 by the Minister of Culture, in recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature or the propagation of these fields. Awarded to “individuals who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the artistic or literary field, or the contribution they have made to the promotion of arts and literature in France and worldwide.” Members are not limited to French nationals, and in recent years the number of foreign recipients has grown. Israeli recipients of the title include: actor and writer Yossi Banai, director Eran Baniel, choreographer Ohad Naharin, authors David Grossman and Amos Oz, Director of the Suzanne Dellal Centre Yair Vardi, and founder and former Director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Lia Van Leer.

This year’s recipients:

Yossi Tal Gan was the General Director of the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra from 2003 – 2008, and has served as the Director of the Israel Festival (which takes place this year from May 25 – June 11) since 1994. In this capacity he invited many significant French artists to perform in Israel. He contributed greatly to the success of “Voila” the French season in Israel in 2006, and was a principal partner in the French-Israeli music season “Harmonie 60”, produced by France in celebration of Israel’s 60th, in collaboration with Cultures-France.

James Snyder is the Director of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He initiated the exhibit “To whom do these canvases belong?” held at the Israel Museum and Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme in Paris in 2008. The exhibit focused on the efforts of France to seek the provenance, custodianship and restitution of art works looted by the Nazi occupiers during WWII.

Dubi Lenz is a journalist and broadcaster on Galei Zahal (the IDF radio station). Artistic director of the World Music Festival in Tel Aviv, he also serves as artistic consultant for many Israeli music festivals. A central figure in the contemporary and World Music scene in Israel, he has featured many French and Francophone artists on his radio show, and in music festivals.

Raphael Nadjari is a French-Israeli director who has received international acclaim for the sensitivity to social and cultural issues reflected in his films. His professional path exemplifies the rise of the new wave in Israeli cinema and the close collaboration between France and Israeli in the media of film.

The four honorees will receive their title in a ceremony that will take place on June 29, 2010, at the residence of the French Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot.