The $ 1 Million Genesis Prize Awarded to Israeli Organizations and Activists Working to Release and Support Hostages and Their Families

Genesis Prize Co-founder Stan Polovets (right) with Doron Zexer, who holds a picture of Edan Alexander, one of several lone soldiers he hosts in his home in Israel.

Genesis Prize Co-founder Stan Polovets: “As most of the Israeli society, our foundation fully supports the government’s stated goal of destroying Hamas. The purpose of this year’s award is not to influence policy, but to raise international awareness of the plight of the hostages and provide humanitarian assistance focused on recovery, rehabilitation, and treatment.”

Feb. 28, 2024 - Today, The Genesis Prize Foundation announced that it is awarding the 2024 Genesis Prize – dubbed “the Jewish Nobel Prize” by Time magazine – to Israeli organizations providing treatment, counseling and support to the released and rescued hostages and their families.  The Foundation will also contribute to the international public awareness campaign to ensure that the plight of the hostages remains on top of the agenda of global leaders.

The annual $1 million Genesis Prize honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievements, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values. Past recipients of the Prize include Natan Sharansky, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Douglas, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Robert Kraft, Steven Spielberg, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Albert Bourla, Barbra Streisand and other extraordinary Jewish contemporaries. (

Co-founder of The Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets said: “This award is not a political statement, and it is not our intent to influence government policy. The Genesis Prize is a humanitarian award, and this year, it seeks to achieve three things – ensure the world does not forget the plight of the captives; provide additional aid to organizations focused on assisting the hostages and their families; and, last but not least, honor the selfless work of organizations that spontaneously emerged after October 7. These volunteers are an inspiring example of Jewish strength and unity who have already earned a place in the history of the Jewish people and Israel. The 2024 Genesis Prize is a recognition of their indomitable spirit and the inspiration they have provided to all people of conscience around the world.”


The Genesis Prize Foundation named five Israeli organizations as recipients of its financial support. These are:

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum

JAFI Fund for Victims of Terror  

Lev Echad

NATAL - The Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center

OneFamily - Overcoming Terror Together   

Additional support will be provided to other organizations and to individual activists as new areas of acute need emerge.

The Foundation emphasized that the $1 million financial component of the Genesis Prize will be used exclusively to fund assistance to the hostages and their families. Funded activities will include treatment, trauma counseling and social rehabilitation for released and rescued hostages.  

The Genesis Prize financial support of the five initial grantees will be restricted, and is not intended to fund political activism, lobbying and other activities inside Israel not directly related to humanitarian assistance. 

Ruby Chen, father of 19-year-old Itay, said: “I am grateful to the Genesis Prize for shining a spotlight on the hostages to help bring them home now. Every day that my son Itay has been held by Hamas has been a living nightmare. I don’t know if he has food or water, where he slept, or even if he’s alive. I call upon President Biden, Egypt’s President al-Sisi, and Qatari Emir Al Thani to do everything they can to secure the release of Itay and all of the hostages.”

Rachel Goldberg, mother of 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin, said: “The courage and symbolism of the Genesis Prize committee bestowing this year’s award to hostage family organizations is beyond praiseworthy and inspirational. It unequivocally publicizes to the entire world that there is no more ethically urgent and morally critical cause pressing on the Jewish people today. We fervently pray this gift will be instrumental in continuing the family organizations' valiant and tireless efforts to bring the remaining 134 beloved hostages home.... now.”

David Hatchwell Altaras, leader of the Madrid Jewish community and a member of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee, said: “The choice of this year’s award is the ultimate testimony of the solidarity of the Jewish People. Nobody ever gets left behind. The generous organizations that have mobilized are a critical part of a wider effort where we pray for the IDF to complete its task.”

Additional Quotes from Parents of Israeli Hostages

Shelly Shem Tov, mother of 21-year old Omer and one of the founding parents of The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said: “I pray that the Genesis Prize will help keep the hostages in the news and bring everyone home. The last time I saw our son Omer – the sunshine of our house – was on my birthday on October 6. The next day, he went to the Supernova Music Festival.  He called to say that he had escaped, but then his phone stopped working. Now my life – as it is for all mothers of hostages – is a living hell.” 

Adi Alexander, father of 20-year-old Edan, said: “We love our son Edan and can’t wait to hug him again. We miss his laugh, his smile. He and the other hostages were taken by force while Israel was at peace. They all need to come home. I hope the publicity of the Genesis Prize will help keep Edan and all of the hostages on the front pages and help bring them home.”

Yaakov Argamani, father of 26-year-old abductee Noa, said: "Every hour, every day, my wife Liora and I worry, speak out, and do everything we can so that our dear daughter Noa and more than a hundred abductees held by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza will be released. We are grateful that the most prestigious award in the Jewish world will remind everyone of the plight of the abductees, our plight, and support the work of the organizations that work tirelessly to bring them home. We call on all decent people in the world to join our efforts and help bring our loved ones home now."


About the winning organizations

The following organizations are announced today as the winners of the 2024 Genesis Prize.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum

The Forum came together spontaneously on October 8, and works 24/7 to return the abductees from Gaza, locate those missing from the attack, support the families, and handle medical, legal, and other matters related to the abduction and its consequences. 

JAFI Fund for Victims of Terror

The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror provides immediate, critical financial assistance to victims and their families, often within 24-48 hours. The Fund also follows up with long-term overall recovery and rehabilitative support.

Lev Echad

Lev Echad – “One Heart” supports the families of abducted persons, and, operating 24/7, focuses on mental, financial and logistical needs of impacted families.

Natal – The Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center

Natal – The Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center provides treatment to all Israeli citizens regardless of religion, ethnic background, color, or socioeconomic status. 

OneFamily - Overcoming Terror Together

OneFamily’s goal is to support and empower victims of terror and bereaved families, so that they can achieve their emotional and financial independence, and successfully reintegrate into society.

About The Genesis Prize Foundation

The Genesis Prize is a global award that celebrates Jewish achievement and contribution to humanity.

Previous Genesis Prize laureates are former New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg (2014); actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas (2015); Itzhak Perlman, virtuoso violinist and advocate for individuals with special needs (2016); sculptor and advocate for the rights of refugees Sir Anish Kapoor (2017); Oscar-winning actress and social activist Natalie Portman (2018); Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, owner of New England Patriots, and Founder of The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism Robert Kraft (2019); legendary Jewish leader and human rights activist Natan Sharansky (2020); filmmaker Steven Spielberg (2021); Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla (2022). In 2023, a collective Genesis Prize was awarded to Jewish activists and NGOs working to alleviate the suffering of the people of Ukraine. The same year, singer, actor, director and activist Barbra Streisand became the 10th Anniversary Genesis Prize Laureate (2023).

In 2018, The Genesis Prize Foundation honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to social justice and equal rights. In 2021, the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was honored with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his life-long work as a teacher of Jewish values and proponent of inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. 

The $1 million prize award, along with matching funds, have been donated in honor of the Laureates to various initiatives, including: support of social entrepreneurship based on Jewish values, inclusiveness of intermarried families in Jewish life, improving the lives of individuals with special needs, helping to alleviate the global refugee crisis, advancing women’s equality, combatting antisemitism and efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel, assistance to those affected by the COVID pandemic and to non-profits fighting for racial and economic justice; preserving the memory of Jewish communities destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Greece; and assistance to Jewish activists and NGOs working to alleviate the suffering of the people of Ukraine.

Since inception in 2013, The Genesis Prize has leveraged the annual $1 million award into philanthropic initiatives totaling more than $50 million, with grants going to more than 220 nonprofit programs in 31 countries, directly impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Genesis Prize Foundation