The Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association’s (IsDMA) annual awards ceremony held this year, was also an occasion to pay tribute to the eight pillars of the Israel Diamond Industry, referred to as "Israel Diamond Industry Dignitaries". The ceremony was held on July 24, 2008 in Ramat Gan. The eight individuals who are regarded are the ones who spearheaded development of the Israel Diamond Industry include: Chaim Even-Zohar, 61, noted industry analyst and publisher of Diamond Intelligence Briefs; Josef Herskovits, (82) diamond exporter who began as a polisher in 1947; Eliahu Cohen, (91), the first worker within Israel’s first diamond polishing plant; Simcha Lustig, (71), leading diamantaire holding a series of public posts, including Chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute 2003 – 2006; Yuval Meiri, (80), who began in 1942 as a polisher and continued in diamond manufacturing until 1989, Uri Kanner, (80), began career as a diamond cleaver and marker, and later founded his own manufacturing company; Efraim Raviv, (69), who served as Israel Diamond Controller from 1981 and as Managing Director of the Israel Diamond Institute from 1987 until end-2006; Eliezer Rott, (78), began as a diamond polisher of small stones, manufacturing up to 1500 stones per day.
Recounting the contributions by the dignitaries, Moti Ganz, President of IsDMA and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, presented the awards along with Avi Paz, President of the Israel Diamond Exchange and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. Moti Ganz mentioned in the ceremony’s opening speech, that, the Israel Diamond Industry must remember those who built it from its foundations. "If they had not been here then, we would not be here now," he said. Adding to this Avi Paz said that he attributes great importance to the local manufacturing industry. "We must make sure that the anchor of our manufacturing remains in Israel," he said.
Simcha Lustig spoke for the honorees, noting that they belonged to two groups – those who paved the way for the industry to prosper, and those who contributed through industry institutions for the good of all. "We built this industry with caring and love in order to present it to the next generation. Only those who value the past can secure the future," he said.