pictures of the hostages
pictures of the hostagesMiriam Alster/FLASH90

Today (Wednesday), The Genesis Prize Foundation announced that it is awarding the 2024 Genesis Prize – which was dubbed “the Jewish Nobel Prize” by Time Magazine – to Israeli organizations that have been providing treatment, counseling, and support to the released and rescued hostages and their families.

The Foundation stated that it "will also contribute to the international public awareness campaign to ensure that the plight of the hostages remains on top of the agenda of global leaders."

Co-founder of The Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets said: “This award is not a political statement, and it is not our intent to influence government policy. The Genesis Prize is a humanitarian award, and this year, it seeks to achieve three things – ensure the world does not forget the plight of the captives; provide additional aid to organizations focused on assisting the hostages and their families; and, last but not least, honor the selfless work of organizations that spontaneously emerged after October 7. These volunteers are an inspiring example of Jewish strength and unity who have already earned a place in the history of the Jewish people and Israel. The 2024 Genesis Prize is a recognition of their indomitable spirit and the inspiration they have provided to all people of conscience around the world.”

The five organizations that will receive the prize and the accompanying $1 million are The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, JAFI Fund for Victims of Terror, Lev Echad, NATAL - The Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, and OneFamily - Overcoming Terror Together.

Family members of multiple hostages expressed their support for the recipients of the 2024 Genesis Prize.

Ruby Chen, father of 19-year-old Itay, said: “I am grateful to the Genesis Prize for shining a spotlight on the hostages to help bring them home now. Every day that my son Itay has been held by Hamas has been a living nightmare. I don’t know if he has food or water, where he slept, or even if he’s alive. I call upon President Biden, Egypt’s President al-Sisi, and Qatari Emir Al Thani to do everything they can to secure the release of Itay and all of the hostages.”

Rachel Goldberg, mother of 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin, said: “The courage and symbolism of the Genesis Prize committee bestowing this year’s award to hostage family organizations is beyond praiseworthy and inspirational. It unequivocally publicizes to the entire world that there is no more ethically urgent and morally critical cause pressing on the Jewish people today. We fervently pray this gift will be instrumental in continuing the family organizations' valiant and tireless efforts to bring the remaining 134 beloved hostages home.... now.”

David Hatchwell Altaras, leader of the Madrid Jewish community and a member of the Genesis Prize Selection Committee, said: “The choice of this year’s award is the ultimate testimony of the solidarity of the Jewish People. Nobody ever gets left behind. The generous organizations that have mobilized are a critical part of a wider effort where we pray for the IDF to complete its task.”

Shelly Shem Tov, mother of 21-year old Omer and one of the founding parents of The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said: “I pray that the Genesis Prize will help keep the hostages in the news and bring everyone home. The last time I saw our son Omer – the sunshine of our house – was on my birthday on October 6. The next day, he went to the Supernova Music Festival. He called to say that he had escaped, but then his phone stopped working. Now my life – as it is for all mothers of hostages – is a living hell.”

Adi Alexander, father of 20-year-old Edan, said: “We love our son Edan and can’t wait to hug him again. We miss his laugh, his smile. He and the other hostages were taken by force while Israel was at peace. They all need to come home. I hope the publicity of the Genesis Prize will help keep Edan and all of the hostages on the front pages and help bring them home.”

Yaakov Argamani, father of 26-year-old abductee Noa, said: "Every hour, every day, my wife Liora and I worry, speak out, and do everything we can so that our dear daughter Noa and more than a hundred abductees held by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza will be released. We are grateful that the most prestigious award in the Jewish world will remind everyone of the plight of the abductees, our plight, and support the work of the organizations that work tirelessly to bring them home. We call on all decent people in the world to join our efforts and help bring our loved ones home now."