Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, who heads the Knesset's Symbols and Ceremonies Committee, approved on Tuesday the final list of women who would be honored in the traditional torch lighting ceremony that ushers in Independence Day events.
This year, the ceremony's theme is "The Era of Women -- Achievements and Challenges."
Fourteen women have been chosen to light the 12 torches, including veteran actress and Israel Prize for the performing arts laureate Miriam Zohar; education activist Adina Bar-Shalom, who on Tuesday was named one of this year's winners of the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, and former Likud MK Geula Cohen, who was instrumental in promoting Basic Law: Jerusalem.
Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, head of the Israel Defense Forces Manpower Directorate and the highest ranking woman in the military, will also light a torch at the ceremony; as will Maxine Fassberg, vice president of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group; 27-year-old Dr. Kira Radinsky of the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology, whose work in the field of web dynamics has been hailed worldwide as groundbreaking; and educator Miriam Peretz, whose two sons Maj. Eliraz Peretz, 32, and Lt. Uriel Peretz, 22, were killed in IDF operations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
Social activist Hindiya Suliman from the village of Bu'eine Nujeidat in northern Israel, whose work strives to empower Israeli Arab women, will also be honored in the ceremony, as will Tali Peretz-Cohen, who heads the Golan and Galilee rape crisis center; and 16-year-old Gal Yosef, head of the National Student and Youth Council, who will share the honor with Geula Cohen.
Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe'er, currently ranked 11th in the world, was also named as one of the torch lighters, as was handcyclist Pascale Berkowitz, who represented Israel in the Beijing and London Paralympic Games. The two will light one torch together.
"This list represents a unique mosaic of Israeli society. It inspires the empowerment of women," Livnat said.
The committee selecting the women who will be honored in the ceremony included Yitzhak Sonnenschein of the Center for Public Diplomacy, former Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, Israel Hayom columnist Emily Amrousi and several other prominent figures.