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2017-05-05 digital edition
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May 5, 2017  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Recipient persuades ‘Jewish Nobel’ to nix event over Syrian crisis

(JTA) – The Genesis Prize will not hold its annual award ceremony at the request of 2017 recipient Anish Kapoor, a refugee advocate who deemed a celebration inappropriate in light of the worsening Syria crisis.

Kapoor, an influential artist and social activist, and the Genesis Prize Foundation “agreed that in light of the escalating war in Syria and the resulting deterioration of the refugee situation there, it would be inappropriate to hold a festive ceremony to honor Mr. Kapoor and his work on refugee issues while children are being killed with chemical and other horrible weapons on Israel’s doorstep,” according to a statement by the foundation awarding the prestigious $1 million prize.

The statement cited a chemical attack and a bus bombing in April that led to a total of more than 200 casualties. Instead of holding a ceremony, the foundation said, it would raise funds to aid Syrian refugees.

The foundation announced in February that Kapoor, the son of a Baghdadi Jewish mother and Indian father, would receive the so-called Jewish Nobel. Previous recipients include violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas.

The Bombay native, who moved to Israel at 16 but has been based in the United Kingdom since the 1970s, said that he will use his award to help alleviate the Syrian refugee crisis and try to expand the Jewish community’s engagement in a global effort to support refugees.

The Genesis Prize recognizes individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their fields and whose achievements show a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and state of Israel. It is awarded in partnership with the office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

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