Amagansett’s legendary musician Sir Paul McCartney was recently named one of nine winners of Israel’s prestigious 2018 Wolf Prize and is expected to appear in Jerusalem to receive the prize in May.
Every year since 1978 the Wolf Foundation has awarded outstanding scientists and artists who have contributed positively to mankind with $100,000 (split between winners in each category) and a special diploma. This year’s prize categories are Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Agriculture and Music, which means McCartney and Hungarian conductor Adam Fischer are being awarded alongside a honeybee biologist, a reticular chemist and a quantum physicist. The Wolf Prize is seen by many to be a prerequisite for winning the Nobel Prize, as a large number of previous laureates have gone on to win the Nobel later in life.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted an announcement party where he unveiled the names of this year’s laureates, stating that, “together with the prize committee, I and many Israelis share the eternal love for the works of Sir Paul McCartney and the Beatles.”
The Wolf Foundation elaborated on this sentiment in a statement, saying, “Sir Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His versatility underlies an extraordinary wingspan, from the most physical rock to melodies of haunting and heartbreaking intimacy. His lyrics have an equally broad range, from the naive and the charming to the poignant and even desperate. He has touched the hearts of the entire world, both as a Beatle and in his subsequent bands.”
The prizes will be handed out by Rivlin at an official ceremony being held at the Knesset (Congress) building in Jerusalem. For McCartney and the other laureates to receive their prizes, they must attend the award ceremony and a series of related events at the end of May.
McCartney famously played his first concert in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park in September 2008. Despite explicit death threats from anti-Israeli extremists, he could not be scared off, telling the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, “I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused.” He added, “I do what I think, and I have many friends who support Israel.” Thankfully, the concert went on without a hitch and was deemed a political victory for the Jewish state.