The establishment of the Genesis Prize, touted as a "Jewish Nobel Prize" and worth $1 million, was announcedTuesday in a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that included Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Genesis Philanthropy Group founder Mikhail Fridman.
The international prize will be awarded to Jews who win global recognition for their achievements in the fields of science and the arts.
Tthe Genesis Philanthropy Group, which is comprised of several oligarchs from the former Soviet Union who are committed to building the Russian-speaking Jewish Diaspora, will fund the prize. Israel's prime minister will award the prize at an annual ceremony to be held near Passover.
A selection committee made up of retired judges and Diaspora Jewish community leaders, as well as representatives from the Prime Minister's Office and the Genesis group, will choose the winner in a multi-stage process.
"The Genesis Prize emphasizes the contribution of the Jews to world history," Fridman said in the statement. "Far-reaching achievements in science, the arts, business, medicine, diplomacy and other fields of human endeavor have been realized thanks to the Jewish people's natural aspiration to improve the world, and to its desire to pass its moral values on to coming generations. This tradition of the Jewish people must continue."