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BGU Prof. Among Those Accepted Into Royal Spanish Academy

BGU Prof. Among Those Accepted Into Royal Spanish Academy

December 9, 2015

Leadership, Awards & Events, Social Sciences & Humanities

The Jerusalem Post — Spain has appointed six Israeli academics to the prestigious Royal Spanish Academy. Among this illustrious list is Prof. Emeritus Jacob Bentolila, former chair of BGU’s Department of Hebrew Language.

This exciting news not only signals a strike against the global trend of institutionalized boycotts of Israeli academia, it marks the first time in history the Spanish Academy has decided to recognize the cultural and historical significance of Sephardic Jewry.

Jacob Bentolila-3

Prof. Emeritus Jacob Bentolila

“Since 1904, the Academy did not include Jews or researchers of Jewish history and culture of Spain. Now they are making a historic correction,” says Prof. Moises Orfali, educator at Bar-Ilan University and one of Prof. Bentolila’s co-inductees.

Born in Tetuan, Spanish Morocco, Prof. Bentolila immigrated to Israel and became an expert in the languages of Ladino (Jewish-Spanish) and Haketia (Jewish-Moroccan). He chaired the Department of Hebrew Language at BGU from 1974 to 1975 and again from 1990 to 1992, and has been a member of Israel’s National Academy for the Hebrew Language since 2004.

Scholars who are admitted as members of the Spanish Academy are elected by active members and, upon being chosen, become members for life.

The Academy’s timely acknowledgement of people like Prof. Bentolila’s contributions to academia sends a powerful message of support to the Israeli institutions of higher learning, and a blow to those attempting to undermine them.

Read more on The Jerusalem Post website >>