We are thrilled to inform you that two of IVN’s 2008-2010 Social Entrepreneur Fellows were recently awarded the Knesset Speakers` Quality of Life Prize for 2015. At a ceremony held at the Knesset on February 9, 2016, they were recognized for their efforts to promote understanding and coexistence between Jews and Arabs, protect human rights and prevent violence within Israeli society.
Tsofen - Co-founded by Smadar Nehab, Sami Saadi and Yossi Coten, Tsofen High Technology centers based in Nazareth promotes the integration of Israel’s Arab Citizens into the high-technology industry as a means of promoting economic development, reducing poverty, high value job creation in Arab urban centers and integration of Arab citizens into Israel’s civil society. Over the last five years the number of Arabs in high-tech tripled from about 400 to 1200, and the number of high-tech jobs in Nazareth grew tenfold, from 30 to 350.
Matzmichim (formerly the SOS Violence Center), the Israeli Violence Reduction Organization, conducts hundreds of workshops, classroom interventions and trainings for teachers, students and educational staff across Israel. Co-founded by Yony Tsouna and Georg Rössler, Matzmichim’s unique intervention model includes using demos and interactive activities to train teachers and work directly with students. To date 35,000 students, teachers, counselors and parents have worked with this innovative group.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Religious Services Minister David Azoulay, MKs Aida Touma-Sliman, Orly Levi-Abekasis, Yakov Margi and Ilan Gilon, Knesset Director-General Ronen Plot and Knesset Secretary-General Yardena Meller-Horowitz.
Edelstein told the representatives of the winning NGOs ”I view you, the recipients of the Prize, as the true leaders of society and the community. It`s safe to assume that not all those you have helped have the ability or the courage to recognize that you have made a change in their lives. We, with pleasure, serve as their mouthpiece and wish to thank you for the profound and fundamental change you are making. You have all shown responsibility towards those around you, thus expressing personal leadership which has contributed to the quality of life of many people.”
”You remind us that society is based on civil involvement, which is the basis for us being an exemplary society,” said the Knesset speaker. Addressing the tense situation in Israel, Edelstein said ”most Knesset Members believe things can be different and that coexistence is possible.”
The Knesset Speaker`s Prize for Quality of Life was established in 1981 with donations from the Markowitz-Schreiber Foundation in France. Its goal is to encourage citizens of Israel whose activities and achievements related to the improvement of the quality of life in Israel warrant special recognition.