(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
American talk show host and comedian Jay Leno will return to Israel to host the Genesis Prize, known as the Jewish Nobel Prize, for a second year in a row, ceremony organizers announced on Monday.
“I’m thrilled to host the Genesis Prize award ceremony for the second year in a row, and to return to Israel, a country and a people that welcomed me with such warmth last summer,” remarked Leno.
“It will be an honor to serve as host when Michael Douglas receives this prestigious award.”
The $1 million prize will be awarded to actor Michael Douglas, who won on the strength of his work to promote inclusion, diversity and tolerance and who pledged to donate the money to further these causes.
Douglas, who is Jewish, has won two Oscars, four Golden Globes and an Emmy and volunteers as a United Nations “messenger of peace.”
“After 22 years of hearing Jay poke fun of my movies on The Tonight Show, it’ll be a nice change to be there when he does it in person,” Douglas said in a statement.
The Genesis Prize is given to those who “inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.” Last year’s winner was former New York mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg.
“In creating this award, we have chosen to annually combine the exceptional profile of the laureate with an important issue which is of concern to the Jewish people and will resonate with unaffiliated young adults,” commented Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.
“Michael Douglas has chosen to invest the prize award into initiatives which will resonate with Jews like himself – those who come from parents of mixed heritage who wish to be part of the Jewish community.
“We are delighted Jay Leno, a true friend of Israel, will join us for the ceremony and attract attention to our mission. He is one of the most remarkable entertainers of our time and an exceptional human being,” Polovets continued.