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Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a Jewish settler leader to withhold the prestigious Israel Prize from Amos Oz, who once called extremists among the settlers "a cruel messianic sect."

The leader, Zvi Hendel, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the writer shouldn't be given the prize unless he retracts statements made in a 1989 newspaper column.

Hendel, a legislator from the National Religious Party, said Oz was "trampling on the honor of thousands of marvelous people," the Haaretz newspaper said.

Oz is to receive the prize April 30 -- Israel's 50th birthday.

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