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Israeli primetime TV anchor Yonit Levi to be awarded journalism prize

Israeli Channel 12's longtime primetime news anchor, Yonit Levi, will receive the Robert St. John Chair in Objective Middle East Reporting Award at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's upcoming annual Board of Governors Meeting next week.

Yonit Levi (Courtesy)

"Quality journalism is the hallmark of a robust democracy, so it is our privilege to award Yonit for her professionalism and initiative over the past 20 years and especially the last couple of years, which have been especially challenging," says Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz.

Levi and fellow journalist Nadav Eyal will hold a conversation after the ceremony on Monday May 20, 2024 at 12:15 pm in the Joya Claire Sonnenfeldt Auditorium on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva.

Levi has been the anchor of Israel’s Channel 12 primetime news for the past 20 years, Israel’s highest rated television station. After starting in 2003 as the program’s co-anchor, she made Israeli television history by being the first woman in Israel to hold this position. She has also been a foreign news reporter for Army Radio and Channel 12. Throughout her career she has conducted interviews with a who’s who of world leaders, including President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama (who called her a “groundbreaking anchor”), President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Secretary Antony Blinken, Secretary Mike Pompeo, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as international icons such as Bill Gates, Lin-Manuel Miranda and comedians Jon Stewart and Conan O’Brien. Since October 7, she has become the face of Israeli news as she tackles the difficult reality professionally, with wisdom and sensitivity.

These same values are reflected in her weekly podcast with respected British Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian UNHOLY: Two Jews on the News. The podcast discusses Israeli world affairs from a Jewish angle, and today hundreds of thousands of listeners from over 120 countries tune-in weekly. It is a lively discussion between two veteran journalists, but it is also a trustworthy, in-depth and objective look at what is going on in Israel, especially after October 7. The viewpoints of Levi and Freedland, one from abroad and one from Israel, provide the podcast's audience with a wider and more complex picture of reality in broader historical, geopolitical, economic, Jewisha and more contexts.

About Robert St. John

Born in 1902 in Chicago, Robert St. John was drawn to journalism and the glamour of being a reporter, driven by his morals, freedom of the press and the hot pursuit of a story. Over the course of his 70 years in journalism, St. John distinguished himself as a much-celebrated author, foreign correspondent, and lecturer.

His claim to fame as a Middle East specialist began in 1948 with his covering of the war for Israel's independence. St. John covered the Eichmann trial and five Arab-Israeli wars, including the 1982 Lebanon War at the age of eighty, by far the oldest of the hundreds of reporters on hand. He wrote a dozen books about the Middle East and Judaism, including well-reviewed biographies of Gamal Abdel Nasser and David Ben-Gurion. An unabashed non-Jewish spokesman for Jewish causes, he maintained close ties with the Jewish state until his passing at the age of 100 years. David Ben-Gurion called him "our goyisher Zionist."

Israeli Channel 12's longtime primetime news anchor, Yonit Levi, will receive the Robert St. John Chair in Objective Middle East Reporting Award at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's upcoming annual Board of Governors Meeting next week. Yonit Levi (Courtesy) "Quality journalism is the hallmark of a robust democracy, so it is our privilege to award Yonit for her professionalism and initiative over the past 20 years and especially the last couple of years, which have been especially challenging," says Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz. Levi and fellow journalist Nadav Eyal will hold a conversation after the ceremony on Monday May 20, 2024 at 12:15 pm in the Joya Claire Sonnenfeldt Auditorium on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva. Levi has been the anchor of Israel’s Channel 12 primetime news for the past 20 years, Israel’s highest rated television station. After starting in 2003 as the program’s co-anchor, she made Israeli television history by
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