Due to his steadfast work to reduce road fatalities in Israel, Avi Naor, the founder of traffic safety organization Or Yarok, will receive an Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the Education Ministry announced on Tuesday.
“He chose to devote his utmost vigor and finances to breakthrough initiatives in the fight against road accidents and in Israeli society,” the judging committee, led by Prof. Gabriela Shalev, wrote. “Avi Naor founded and financed the organization Or Yarok, which successfully leads the comprehensive and in-depth struggle against traffic accidents, and has been a major factor in the significant decrease of fatalities over the years.”
Naor, 64, hails from the hi-tech sector and became CEO and president of Amdocs in 1995. By the time he left Amdocs in 2002, the company’s sales reached $1.6 billion and employed 10,000 people around the globe. Naor established Or Yarok in 1997, following the death of his son Ran in a car accident.
Or Yarok engages thousands of volunteers in a variety of social causes, such as providing free driving training to about 300,000 young drivers in Israel, donating more than 100 cars to Israel’s traffic police and holding road safety lectures for school students, soldiers, workers and members of the elderly population, the prize background information explained.
In 2005, Naor and his organization acquired the signatures of 1.2 million people in Israel calling upon then prime minister Ariel Sharon to implement a national program to combat traffic accidents and successfully convinced him of its necessity. To date, this petition remains the largest ever in Israel.
Attributing much of the improvements to the activities of Naor and Or Yarok, the prize information noted that the number of road fatalities has dropped 36 percent in the past decade.
In addition to his activities at Or Yarok, the judging committee said that Naor invests greatly in a variety of social initiatives, such as programs for at-risk youths and disadvantaged populations.
“In his activities, he sets new standards of deep involvement and management at the highest level, and he therefore constitutes a leader in social involvement in the third sector,” the judges wrote.