Knesset Speaker's Prize awarded to free loan advocate

"This prize goes to those who give with all their heart to the helpless ones among us," Rivlin says.

October 31, 2011 06:35
1 minute read.
Reuven Rivlin at EU Parliament

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311. (photo credit: Gabi Farkash)

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced on Sunday that this year’s Knesset Speaker’s Prize will be awarded to four recipients that work to bridge gaps between groups in Israeli society.

The prize will go to two organizations, “Ma’ase” and “Besod Siach,” as well as two individuals, Dr. Adi Kol and Prof. Eliezer David Jaffe.

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The Knesset Speaker’s Prize is meant to “nurture and encourage the improvement of quality of life in Israel.”

According to Rivlin, “the prize emphasizes the public activities of volunteers that provide support beyond the government, and set an example for all.

“This prize goes to those who give with all their heart to the helpless ones among us,” the Knesset speaker said.

The Knesset Speaker’s Prize is worth NIS 120,000 and will be divided between the four. Rivlin will present the awards in late December at a ceremony in the Knesset.

Besod Siach is an organization made up of secular and religious psychologists from the political left and right that volunteer to promote dialogue and mediation between conflicting groups in Israeli society.

Ma’ase offers volunteer opportunities to youth from the periphery, which is meant to promote equal opportunity and social mobility, as well as develop leadership skills.

Kol founded “Access for All,” a program in which introductory university classes are opened to marginalized groups, such as battered women, at-risk youth and ethnic minorities. The aim of the courses is to provide the participants with a background that would allow them to be accepted in an academic study program.

Jaffe, a sociologist and philanthropy advocate, founded the Israel Free Loan Association in 1990, which grants loans without interest for housing, renovations, studies, adoption and other reasons. In the past two decades, the organization provided $130 million in loans, with one of the highest repayment rates in Israel.

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