Emet Prize Laureates

Late Prof. Itamar Singer

Tel-Aviv University
2010 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Ancient Middle East

Ancient Middle East

Late Prof. Itamar Singer

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Prof. Itamar Singer for his pioneering and ground-breaking studies into the Hittite Empire and the international situation in the Middle East of the second millennium B.C., and for setting milestones in modern research, used as a basis for an updated debate and new insights.”


Prof. Itamar Singer was born in 1946 in Dej, Rumania. He immigrated to Israel in 1958 and went to school in Holon, where he still lives today.

In 1965 he started his B.A. studies in archaeology and geography at the Hebrew University. During four years of military service in the air force he completed his M.A. studies at Tel Aviv University. 

In 1978 he completed his doctoral thesis on "The Hittite KI.LAM Festival" at Marburg University in Germany and at Tel-Aviv University. Upon his return to Israel he joined the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and focused on the Hittite culture that flourished in Anatolia (ancient Turkey) as well as the history and culture of the peoples of Canaan. For many years he labored to establish Hittite studies at the Tel-Aviv University, which became the only center in Israel for the study of this ancient culture. 

His studies and articles deal with the early days of the Hittite empire, its ethnic make-up, its ruling apparatus over its subjects and the reasons for its downfall, and they span a wide-range of subjects: political history, culture, literature and religion. He was the first researcher to present the thesis according to which the empire's downfall was the result of its weakening through the inner struggles within the Hittite royal house and the split up of the kingdom; this weakness made it possible for the outside enemies, including the Sea Peoples, to deliver the final blow.

His work has yielded a long list of articles and two books about Hittite prayers. His latest book, "The Hittites and their Civilization", was the first to present in Hebrew the Hittite history, religion and mythology. Over the years he was invited to lecture at various academic institutions around the world – in Germany, Italy, England, Turkey, the United States, Japan Australia and Argentina. 

His studies won him scholarships and research grants from the National Science Foundation in Jerusalem.