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The Schmooze

$1 Million ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’ Announced

A new international prize worth $1 million to honor Jewish accomplishment in the arts and sciences was announced today by the Israeli Prime Minster’s office, in collaboration the Jewish Agency and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

According to a New York Times story, the prize is endowed with $50 million from the Genesis group, which was set up by Russian “so-called oligarchs” Mikhail M. Fridman, Pyotr Aven and German Khan. The award will honor “excellence in virtually any field,” by recipients “who attribute their success to Jewish values.”

The Award will be named The Genesis Prize, though it is already being touted in a press release as the “Jewish Nobel Prize.”

As stated in the release, the goal of the award is to “emphasize the contribution of the Jews to world history and to draw the younger generation of Jews around the world closer to the State of Israel and Jewish identity.” The nomination committee will be chaired by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, and the selection committee will include the speaker of the Knesset and two retired Israeli Supreme Court justices. Representatives from the Israeli Prime Ministers office and the Genesis group will also be involved.

According to the Times, the award also sends a message of friendship between Israel and Russia, since the Fridman, Aven and Khan are said to be close to Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

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