Naharin, who studied dance with Martha Graham and at the School of American Ballet and the Juilliard School, has been artistic director of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company (which was founded in 1964 by Graham and Batsheva De Rothschild) since 1990.
His works have been produced by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Nederlans Dans Theatre, Frankfurt Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, among many other companies.
Limor Livat, Israel's minister of culture and education, said, "His wonderful work has significantly marked Israeli culture."
The panel of judges said of Naharin, "Ohad has developed a rich and unique movement language, and his career as an artist is marked with original and daring breakthroughs hthat have managed to bring many Israelis closer to the world of artistic dance."
The Israel Prize, the most highly regarded award in the country, was first given in 1953, and is awarded on the eve of Israel's Independence Day.