A pioneer of Israel’s “Start-Up Nation” culture, one of the Jewish world’s top educators, and a founder of the medical field of women’s imaging were among the seven recipients of the 2018 Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion (Builders of Zion) Prize this week. The ceremony was held at the Knesset in the presence of Minister of Regional Cooperation, Tzachi Hanegbi, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog and Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Sofa Landver.

The Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize recognizes Olim (immigrants) from English-speaking countries who have made a major impact on the State of Israel. Over 350 people attended the Knesset ceremony. Minister Hanegbi, Sylvan Adams and Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, presented the honorees with their awards. These awards represent the indelible impact that English-speaking Olim have made in Israel during the past seven decades.

“Israel’s development over the past seven decades has been shaped by the remarkable contributions, ingenuity, and talents of Olim,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “They have transformed the landscape of virtually every professional field and community in Israel. I am humbled each year by the trailblazing achievements of the Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Bonei Zion Prize recipients.”

This year’s prize recipients were chosen by a prestigious panel of committee members in a variety of fields, including: Science & Medicine; Community & Non-Profit; Education; Israel Advocacy; Culture, Art & Sports; Lifetime Achievement; and Young Leadership.

"Every person who chooses to make this journey (Aliyah) has their own story, and every new Oleh makes Israel a better, stronger and richer society," Hanegbi said. "As much as I believe each and every one of these Olim made a brave and wonderful decision to move to Israel, the real beneficiary of your move is Israel. The miracle that is the modern State of Israel...would not be possible without the contributions of these Olim, and all Israelis owe them a debt of gratitude.”

"I think it's exceptional to see such a group of distinguished honorees who have done so much for Israel and humankind at large. You are all incredible people...and we hope to see many more Olim in the future," said Herzog. "Unfortunately, it is a very painful day today. The Pittsburgh Jewish community consists of 50,000 Jews, all committed, Zionistic and well organized. We just met their leadership here in Israel last week and little could we imagine there would be such a tragedy as we saw yesterday."

The 2018 Bonei Zion recipients include:

Dr. Marcia Javitt, chairman of Radiology at Rambam Hospital in the field of Science and Medicine

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Founder of Ohr Torah Stone and Founding Rabbi of Efrat in the field of Education

Linda Streit, Founder of the Daniel Amichai Centre for Rowing and Nautical Studies in the field of Culture, Art & Sports

Kalman Samuels, Founder and Chairman of Shalva, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the field of Community and Non-Profit

Arsen Ostrovsky, Executive Director of The Israeli-Jewish Congress in the field of Israel Advocacy

Morris Kahn, Co-Founder of Amdocs with the Lifetime Achievement Award

Major Keren Hajioff, Head of Public Diplomacy in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit for Young Leadership