$1 million in Genesis Prize grants to be awarded to organizations working to combat anti-Semitism and tell the true story of Israel
November 25, 2019, Tel-Aviv – Today The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) and the 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate Robert Kraft announced the launch of “Speak Out for Israel” – an international campaign designed to help combat the global rise of anti-Semitism and attempts to de-legitimize the Jewish State. Through this campaign, GPF and Kraft plan to award $1 million in grants to Israeli non-profit organizations capable of delivering an innovative response to this grave challenge.
“The 2019 Genesis Prize theme focuses on combatting global anti-Semitism and increasingly aggressive efforts to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” said Stan Polovets, Co-founder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation. “These grants are designed to help Israel’s non-profit sector stand up to this scourge by promoting a truthful, inspiring narrative of Israel to audiences around the world, countering Israel’s detractors with factual, positive messages of what the Jewish State truly represents. We invite other donors to join Robert Kraft and our Foundation in this effort.”
Recent surveys conducted by CNN and a number of respected polling agencies point to a strong resurgence in global anti-Semitism. They also indicate that a majority of respondents believe the steep rise in anti-Semitism to be a response to the actions of the State of Israel. About 20% of respondents believe it is a reaction to the daily activities of Jews (surveys by Eurobarometer, CNN and Fundamental Rights Agency – see additional information below).
“Speak out for Israel” grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to non-profit organizations that propose programs designed to tell the story of Israel by emphasizing such democratic values as tolerance and respect for the rights of minorities, as well as scientific, technological and cultural achievements. The programs shall aim to build cross-community bridges, dismantle stereotypes and educate both Jews and non-Jews alike about Israel.
“Israel is so special to me and my family,” said 2019 Genesis Prize laureate Robert Kraft. “It’s where I took the love of my life on our honeymoon in 1963. Since then, I have sponsored dozens of missions and countless other trips for people to experience Israel for the first time. Spiritually, there is no place like it on earth. The more people learn about its history, its diverse culture and its innovation, the more we can do to change stereotypes and end antisemitism. That’s why Speak Out for Israel is so timely and important to Israel’s future.”
Upon receiving the $1 million Genesis Prize in June in Jerusalem, Kraft not only committed to forgoing the monetary award and directing it towards projects combatting global anti-Semitism and efforts to de-legitimize Israel, but he also announced a $20 million personal donation to seed the creation of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism (FCAS). Philanthropist Roman Abramovich added $5 million, and an anonymous donor committed an additional $5 million. In October 2019, noted Jewish scholar and communal leader Dr. Rachel Fish joined FCAS as its inaugural executive director.
Isaac (Bougie) Herzog, Chairman of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee and Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said: “Over the past six years, The Genesis Prize Foundation has become a key channel for shining a light on important social problems and fostering positive change in Israel and abroad. This year, it is important that we combat hostility toward the Jewish State by showcasing what Israel has to offer the world. I thank GPF and Robert Kraft for jointly taking an active role in this effort. ”
Since 2014, grants in honor of Genesis Prize laureates have supported more than 130 NGOs in 16 countries including Israel, the US, and the UK. These organizations work in various fields, including social entrepreneurship based on Jewish values, engaging intermarried families in Jewish life, improving the lives of individuals with special needs, helping to alleviate the global refugee crisis, and promoting gender equality.
In 2018, more than 250 non-profit organizations in the United States and Israel applied for Genesis Prize women’s empowerment grants in honor of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2018 Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree. Fifty-one organizations received – including matching funds – a total of $3.5 million.
The Genesis Prize Foundation invites interested non-profit organizations registered in Israel to apply for “Speak Out for Israel” grants by December 12, 2019. The competition is being administered by Matan-United Way Israel, with winners to be announced in April 2020.
The Genesis Prize is a global award, which celebrates Jewish achievement and contributions to humanity. Launched in 2013, the Prize is financed through a permanent endowment of $100 million established by The Genesis Prize Foundation.
The Genesis Prize laureates have included former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas, virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman, sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor, actress Natalie Portman and businessman and philanthropist Robert Kraft. In 2018, the Genesis Prize Foundation honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. All previous laureates have selected causes that were important to them, and award funds in their honor have been donated to these causes.
About 2019 philanthropic theme
In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and the number of hate crimes directed at Jews around the world.
In the first six months of 2019, the Anti-Defamation League counted 780 cases that include vandalism, arson and distribution of anti-Jewish propaganda at American synagogues and Jewish institutions. Some of the deadliest attacks against Jews include the Tree of Life massacre during the Sabbath prayer on October 2018, the Poway synagogue shooting last Passover in San Diego and most recently, the Yom Kippur synagogue attack in Halle, Germany.
The “Anti-Semitism Worldwide” report published by Tel-Aviv University in May 2019 analyzed the findings of three wide-ranging surveys: the FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency) survey, which interviewed 16,500 Jews in 12 countries; the CNN survey, based on 7,000 interviews among the general populations of European countries; and the Eurobarometer study, which interviewed 23,640 people in 28 countries. The data from all three surveys identified the growing scope of the problem, as well as an increasing sense of insecurity among Jewish communities worldwide.
Thus, 85% of the FRA interviewees regard anti-Semitism as the most severe problem, yet do not report on some 75% to 80% of the cases they faced. CNN found that one in five believes that anti-Semitism is a reaction to everyday activities of Jews, and most respondents said that the majority of anti-Semitism in their countries is a response to the actions of the State of Israel. Eighty-nine percent of those interviewed by the Eurobarometer believe anti-Semitism has recently increased. A 16% rise in private space incidents was registered in the US.
US: Alison Karlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-267-738-0677
Israel: Nadav Berkowitz, Nadav@debby.co.il, +972-52-5270613
Hadar Tzour, Hadar@debby.co.il, +972-54-5229499