Tony Gelbart, chairman and co-founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh; Scott R. Tobin; Dr. Rachel Levmore; IDF Staff Sgt. (res.) Sahar Elbaz; Barbara Levin; Moshe Arens; Estelle Friedman; Professor Howard (Chaim) Cedar; Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, NBN Co-founder and Executive Director..
(photo credit: SASSON TIRAM)
Six American immigrants who have excelled during their time in Israel in cancer research, social activism, and education were honored Monday by Nefesh B’Nefesh, and awarded its Bonei Zion Prize in the Knesset.
The award, which recognizes immigrants from English-speaking countries who have made a major impact on the State of Israel, was presented to the recipients in the presence of Immigration Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi.
The honorees were Prof. Howard (Chaim) Cedar, professor of developmental biology and cancer research at the Hebrew University in the field of science and medicine; Estelle Friedman, director of production of Israel Educational Television in the field of culture, sports & arts; Barbara Levin, founder of the Tali school system, in the field of education; Dr. Rachel Levmore, rabbinical court advocate and director of the International Young Israel Movement’s Aguna and Get-Refusal Prevention Project in the field of community and non-profit; Scott R. Tobin, general partner of Battery Ventures in the field of entrepreneurship and technology; IDF Staff-Sgt. (res.) Sahar Elbaz in the field of IDF and National Service.
Additionally, Moshe Arens, a renowned Israeli politician and aeronautical engineer, received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to public diplomacy efforts on behalf of the country.
Hanegbi warmly praised the honorees noting the difficulties facing immigrants to the country, and observing that despite such obstacles the recipients of the prize had succeeded in helping shape and improve Israeli society.
“These recipients’ contributions to Israel did not end with the choosing to live here. Each of you have chosen a way of life that contributes tremendously to Israel’s economy, society, education and so much more,” Hanegbi said.
Sylvan Adams, who recently made aliya and is the sponsor of the award, was also present, and said he considered it to be “a small down payment on our debt of gratitude to the State of Israel and Nefesh B’Nefesh for welcoming us so warmly.”
Elkin praised Nefesh B’Nefesh for establishing the Bonei Zion award and giving expression to the huge impact immigration has had on Israeli society.
“The very essence of the immigration phenomenon, people leaving their country of origin, is not a simple thing at all, but these same immigrants decided that they want to live in the place where the destiny of the Jewish people is determined,” said the minister.