‘We Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’: Israel Awards Prestigious Prize to Sir Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney performs on stage during The Out There Tour 2015 on May 2, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

Sir Paul McCartney has won Israel’s prestigious 2018 Wolf Prize and the former Beatle is expected to travel to the Jewish State and receive his award at the end of May.

Each year the Wolf Foundation awards $100,000 prizes to acknowledge individual excellence in five fields. About three dozen winners have gone on to receive Nobel prizes in parallel fields, leading to the award being labeled the “Israeli Nobel Prize.”

Since it began in 1976, the foundation has awarded prizes to 329 laureates, 14 of whom are women. Twenty-one Israelis have won the prize, with 176 laureates coming from the US — the biggest number of laureates — followed by the UK, with 29.

President Reuven Rivlin hosted a special event at his Jerusalem residence to announce 2018’s laureates, saying that, “together with the prize committee, I and many Israelis share the eternal love for the works of Sir Paul McCartney and the Beatles.”

“Sir Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” the foundation said in a statement. “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.”

 “There is little doubt that his songs will be sung and savored as long as there are human beings to lift up their voices,” the foundation added, likening the 75-year-old’s talents to classical music masters Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, and Claude Debussy, among others.

McCartney’s visit to accept his prize will mirror that of fellow Beatle Ringo Starr who will perform two shows in Israel later this year in defiance of the anti-Israel BDS movement that calls for the complete isolation of the Jewish State.

Ringo has chosen a band that includes fellow rock legends Steve Lukather of Toto, Greg Rollie of Journey and Graham Gouldman of 10cc as the All-Starrs. The two shows are booked for Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtahim Arena on June 23 and 24.

Ringo’s tour comes 52 years after The Beatles were originally scheduled to perform in Israel in 1966 – but were turned away by the government of the day who deemed them to be a “bad influence” on Israeli youth.

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