JERUSALEM (JTA) — A member of the Genesis Prize advisory board resigned in protest over the decision to move forward with plans to honor Robert Kraft with the “Jewish Nobel” despite the New England Patriots owner being charged with soliciting a prostitute.
Rivka Carmi, a former president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, tendered her resignation earlier this week, Haaretz first reported Wednesday. Her resignation letter cited “frustration and disappointment” with the decision, according to the Israeli newspaper, and takes immediate effect.
It is the first public break with the Genesis Prize over granting the prize to Kraft, which was announced in January prior to the prostitution scandal. The honor comes with a $1 million prize that is generally donated to the cause of the recipient’s choice.
Kraft, 77, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution in Florida. The businessman and philanthropist was one of some 100 men caught in a police sting at a string of massage parlors in South Florida.
Carmi’s biography and photo remained on the Genesis Prize website on Wednesday afternoon in Israel. She is the only woman to serve as the head of a major Israeli university, retiring from Ben-Gurion University in December following 12 years at the helm.
Kraft was awarded the Genesis Prize a year after its previous laureate, actress Natalie Portman, refused to attend the prize ceremony in Israel because of her objections to the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.