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A million dollar Jewish Nobel prize in the works?

According to Ynet, Natan Sharansky and the Jewish Agency have approached Israel’s Knesset and its President, Shimon Perez, about creating a Jewish Nobel-type prize that would come with a $1 million cash award.

According to Ynet, the cash would be offered up by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the charity funded by a number of Russian oligarchs and would go to a Jew from either Israel or the Diaspora who makes a significant contribution to humanity.

From Ynet:

The goal of the prize is to award Jewish contribution to the world in a number of fields, including art, science, medicine, and more.

Sharansky recruited the Genesis fund to fund the prize. The Genesis Fund is a philanthropic organization that aims to strengthen Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews throughout the world with a particular emphasis on those living in former Soviet republics, the US, and Israel.

Jewish oligarch Mikhail Friedman, considered one of the richest people in Russia, heads the organization. Friedman made his fortune, which is estimated to be more than $13 billion, from telecom, oil, and marketing.

The prize will be called the Genesis Prize, after his organization.

Now, we should offer a disclaimer here. We heard rumors of this prize a couple of weeks ago, but were unable to confirm it with either Jewish Agency officials or those close to Genesis — so we’re far from being able to report this as a done deal.  Along similar lines, it’s important to note that Ynet also failed to secure any sort of confirmation.

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