Top author David Grossman announced Thursday he will withdraw from contention for Israel's most prestigious arts and sciences award after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervened to remove judges on political grounds.
The premier earlier this week had three of the Israel Prize judges removed, explaining on his Facebook page they were "extremist and anti-Zionist".
"The situation in which a small and closed group, which holds extremist views, has control of the selection of the winners of the Israel Prize, must change," wrote Netanyahu, who as interim education minister has oversight over jury selection.
Grossman, an activist and critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, joined several other nominees in withdrawing in protest at the right-wing leader's intervention.
"I've taken this decision in response to the campaign of intimidation by the prime minister against some of Israel's best scientific and artistic figures," the author, whose works have been translated into more than 30 languages, told Channel 2 television.
The Israel Prize -- in the categories of literature, sciences and the arts -- is awarded each spring on the day of the Jewish state's independence.