Owner Robert Kraft will use $1 million prize to combat anti-Semitism
Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, has been awarded the 2019 edition of the Genesis Prize. The Israeli prize was awarded to him in recognition for his commitment against anti-Semitism and philanthropy. He is the sixth winner of the award. The list of other prize winners includes actress Natalie Portman, Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York City, actor Michael Douglas, sculptor Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the United States Supreme Court Justice. The Genesis Prize brings with it one million dollars in prize money and is popularly known as the “Jewish Nobel.”
The Genesis Prize is awarded every year to a person who is recognized as a role model to the subsequent generation of Jews via professional achievement. The awardee must also display a complete commitment to the Jewish values. Isaac Herzog, who heads the Genesis Prize Selection Committee and also holds the chairpersonship of Jewish Agency for Israel, said the surge of anti-Semitism is a matter of concern not only to the Jews but also tears the fabric of democratic society.
Kraft himself was ecstatic when he received the news. He said he is honored to be the 2019 prize recipient and thanked the Genesis foundation for its proactive stance to direct the prize monies to worthy causes. He has long supported Israel and has played a vital role in establishing the sport of American football in Israel. He funded the construction and commission of Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium. The American will be awarded the prize by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, in June.
Kraft has a Jewish upbringing and has publicly supported Israel. He has financed trips to the Holy Land for the NFL Hall of Famers. Money from the prize will be given to initiatives that combat anti-Semitism and other kinds of prejudices. It will also be spent to oppose attempts that try to delegitimize Israel. Stan Polovets, the chairman and co-founder of Genesis Prize Foundation, opined that Kraft is the perfect successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court who received the award.
The events were mired in controversy in 2018 when Natalie Portman, who received the 2018 award, did not visit the venue as she did not want to be seen endorsing the policies of the Netanyahu Government.