Prime Minister’s Office Exits Genesis Prize Partnership

Jerusalem, January 27, 2020 Today, the founders of the Genesis Prize – the global award dubbed “The Jewish Nobel” by Time Magazine – announced changes in the partnership governing the Prize.

The Genesis Prize was established in 2013 as a private-public partnership between The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF), the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel (PMO), and The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The private GPF finances the Prize through a $100 million endowment.

The founding organizations released the following joint statement:

“Since awarding the inaugural Genesis Prize to Michael Bloomberg in 2014, the partnership among our three organizations has resulted in the creation of one of the most prestigious awards in the Jewish world. Genesis works to bring Israel and global Jewry closer together, while the recipients of the Prize have contributed tens of millions of dollars to important philanthropic causes in Israel and in the Diaspora. During this time, we have also seen that, despite the efforts of the partners to create a non-political award that unites the Jewish people, some have incorrectly interpreted the participation of the Office of the Prime Minister in the Genesis Prize as bringing a political dimension to this important initiative. This is the opposite of what the founders of the Prize intended. Therefore, in order to make it perfectly clear that this award transcends politics, the three partners collectively have decided that the PMO would exercise the option contained in the founding documents and withdraw from the partnership. GPF will continue to administer the Prize in cooperation with JAFI.”

Separately, GPF announced a modification of the laureate nomination process designed to widen participation of the global Jewish community. During the first five years of the Prize, about 2,000 senior leaders from the fields of philanthropy, academia, public service, business, and Jewish communal life had been invited to nominate laureates. In 2019, more than 90,000 people were invited to nominate, culminating in the selection of Natan Sharansky as the 2020 Genesis Prize Laureate. For next year’s laureate selection cycle, GPF will further expand engagement, opening the process to an even wider Jewish audience in Israel and throughout the world.