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.
The Knesset Speaker’s Prize is
meant to “nurture and encourage the improvement of quality of life in
According to Rivlin, “the prize emphasizes the public activities
of volunteers that provide support beyond the government, and set an example for
“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.
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
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.