From Complete Review 070309:
Sapir Prize fiasco
They've been trying their darnedest to make the Sapir Prize the Israeli equivalent of the Man Booker Prize, but they keep failing miserably. As I mentioned a few months back, many of the major Israeli authors (David Grossman, Meir Shalev, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz) do not submit their works for consideration, which already waters things down. Now they're having problems giving it to anyone .....
They did find a winner this year recently -- 'The House of Dajani', by Alon Hilu (see his official site) -- but now, as for example The Jerusalem Post reports, Winner of prestigious Sapir Prize forced to give it back:
Alon Hilu, winner of this year's prestigious Sapir Prize for literature, will be forced to give back the NIS 150,000 award after the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel raised concerns of a conflict of interest between him and one of the judges, former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid.See also Maya Sela's appropriately question-mark-filled report at Haaretz, Nat'l lotto revokes Sapir Prize due to conflict of interest.
Surely it's time to close this thing down and start over.
(Updated - 5 July): Indeed, it doesn't look like their attempt to re-judge the prize will work out well: as Maya Sela reports in Haaretz, a lot of Authors withdraw from book contest amid dispute.