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