PM awards innovation prizes to rock musician

Netanyahu said the prize winners attested to the creativity of the Jewish people, the State of Israel and its citizens.

By NADAV SHEMER
November 14, 2012 23:27
2 minute read.
PM Netanyahu speaks to Jewish immigrants at BGU

Netanyahu R370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Rock musician Yoni Bloch and clinical social worker Rivka Yahav are the two recipients of this year’s Prime Minister’s Prize for Initiatives and Innovation.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu awarded the NIS 70,000 prizes at a ceremony at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Tuesday night. The goal of the prize is to encourage initiatives, innovative thinking, imagination and creativity in ways that help lead to significant changes in society, the environment, science and technology.

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Bloch, CEO and cofounder of Interlude, an interactive video-technology start-up, received the prize for innovation for financial profit.

The top-selling musician and former judge of Kochav Nolad (the Israeli version of American Idol) created Interlude with a vision to enable video creators to express themselves in new ways and to offer viewers a unique online video experience.

Interlude, which was funded by Sequoia Capital in 2011, offers a range of products, including a webbased tool that enables the creation, design and deployment of interactive videos. Visitors to its website can access a number of sample videos, including an interactive conversation with President Shimon Peres and a “create your own trailer” video for NBC’s hit comedy Community.

Yahav, a senior lecturer at Haifa University’s School of Social Work, was awarded the prize for innovation that is not for financial profit.

She was recognized for her work in developing an innovative system for the early discovery and treatment of environmental and developmental difficulties for at-risk youth.



The programs Yahav has introduced include: emotional therapy for Haifa children during the Second Lebanon War; therapy for children of Ethiopian descent with emotional difficulties; an interdisciplinary program providing developmental supervision for at-risk children from before birth to kindergarten age; and groups dealing with loss of bereavement.

Two scientists received “honorable mentions” worth NIS 15,000 during the awards night. Prof. Oded Shoseyov, founder and CEO of CollPlant, which focuses on regenerative medicine and tissue repair, received the honorable mention for innovation for financial profit. Dr. Dovi Weiss, chief scientist of Time to Know, which has developed an interactive core curriculum and digital teaching platform for one-to-one computing classrooms, received the mention for innovation for nonfinancial profit.

Netanyahu said the prize winners attested to the creativity of the Jewish people, the State of Israel and its citizens.

Explaining the reasons behind the prize’s establishment, he said: “We are facing a very promising and, in a certain sense, a very challenging period. The development of the world of the Internet has reached the cyber world very quickly; the cyber world reaches the world of cyber-attacks. There must also be defenses; new things come from this defense – new industries and new understandings.

“We must advance these from within both the government and the Prime Minister’s Office. I believe that this is not only within us, it is also our future.”


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