Today, The Genesis Prize Foundation announced prominent American philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots football team, Robert Kraft, as the 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate.

The annual $1 million Genesis Prize, dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” by Time Magazine, honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and Israel.

The Prime Minister of Israel will present the award to Robert Kraft at a gala ceremony in Jerusalem in June. 

Robert Kraft becomes the seventh Genesis Prize Honouree. Previous honourees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas; “fiddler to the world” maestro Itzhak Perlman; sculptor and advocate for refugees Anish Kapoor; and actress Natalie Portman, one of the leaders of the women’s empowerment movement.

In keeping with the Genesis Prize tradition, Kraft has chosen to forgo the $1 million monetary award so that funds can be granted, in his honour, to initiatives combatting anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice as well as attempts to de-legitimise the State of Israel.

For decades, Kraft has spoken out publicly and donated generously to organizations combating prejudices, including anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of the State of Israel. 

Head of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee and Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Isaac Herzog said: “I applaud Robert Kraft’s decision to focus his energies and the Genesis Prize award funds on combating anti-Semitism, the de-legitimisation of Israel, and racially-motivated hate crimes. The rising tide of anti-Semitism is a threat not only to Jews, but to the very fabric of any democratic society where it is allowed to take place. We cannot be blind to history’s lessons. The time to act is now.”

Larry Summers, a member of the Genesis Prize Committee, President Emeritus of Harvard University, and the United States Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration, said:

“Robert Kraft’s extraordinary vision and leadership brought enthusiasm and pride to the world of sports. His compassionate philanthropy and the charitable programs funded by the New England Patriots touch many lives in the United States and Israel. He is an American patriot and a great global citizen firmly connected to his Jewish heritage and devoted to the State of Israel. He is truly a worthy Genesis Prize Laureate.”

“I am honoured to receive the Genesis Prize and thank The Genesis Prize Foundation for its recognition and willingness to direct my prize monies to such worthy causes,” said Kraft. “This award amplifies my ability to raise both awareness and additional funds to fight anti-Semitism, attempts to de-legitimise Israel and other forms of prejudices. It is important that we continue to support organisations that focus on combatting prejudices by building bridges and uniting people of different backgrounds.”

“We are delighted to welcome Robert Kraft to the outstanding family of Genesis Prize Laureates,” said Stan Polovets, co-Founder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation. “I cannot think of a more worthy Laureate to follow U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom we honoured last July. Like Ginsburg, Kraft has spent most of his life advocating for a more just society, tolerance and inclusiveness. He is one of the world’s most generous philanthropists whose charitable giving reflects the Jewish value of tikkun olam – repairing the world.”

Robert Kraft just keeps on winning.

What a life. 

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