Award Ceremony 2019
On June 20, 2019, The Genesis Prize Foundation presented 2019 Laureate Robert Kraft with the Genesis Prize at a gala ceremony in Jerusalem. Attended by 600 dignitaries from around the world, the ceremony was the culmination of four days of events focusing on this year’s Genesis Prize philanthropic theme of combating anti-Semitism, BDS, and other efforts to delegitimize Israel.
Throughout the evening, guests were entertained by Master of Ceremonies, award-winning actor and comedian Martin Short. The program featured appearances by New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman – the first Jewish Super Bowl Most Valuable Player – as well as legendary Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champion brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. They introduced a video on “Jews in Sports” chronicling the role Jews have had in sports throughout history, despite ongoing persecution and oppression. Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism in the United Kingdom, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, reinforced this message of resilience as she provided personal reflections on the state of anti-Semitism in the UK.
The highlight of the evening was Robert Kraft’s announcement that he is establishing a foundation dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism online, using social media to engage 18-35 year-olds. Launched with his own personal contribution of $20 million, this foundation is a demonstration of Kraft’s commitment to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism. Roman Abramovich and an additional anonymous donor have already contributed an additional $5 million each, and Kraft has invited others to join him in the hopes of creating a fund of at least $50 million.
In his acceptance speech, Kraft shared his hopes for the new foundation:
“My vision is to end the violence against Jewish communities. To counter the normalization of anti-Semitic narratives that question Israel's right to exist. To educate, to inform, and to heal inter-communal relations. In combating the scourge of anti-Semitism, my solemn ambition is to counter all forms of intolerance in the spirit of the ancient Jewish value of tikkun olam - to heal and repair the world .”
In his address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a fitting tribute to Kraft and all that he has done for Israel and Jews around the world.
Take a look at photo highlights from the evening in the gallery above. We invite you to watch this video learn more about the impact of the Genesis Prize and stay tuned for more.