In a video recording, President of the State Reuven Rivlin congratulated the winners of the important award and emphasized his special connection to B’nai B’rith thanks to his father, Professor Yosef Yoel Rivlin, who served as president of B’nai B’rith Israel.
Nachman Shai, Israel’s recently appointed minister of Diaspora affairs, delivered a speech via Zoom—one of his first speeches in his new position. He stated that The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs has three main tasks in strengthening the connection between Israel and the Diaspora: increasing solidarity, mutual commitment and a pluralistic approach to all streams of Judaism. Shai stressed that no stream has a monopoly on authentic Judaism.
Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, stated that the award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. Referencing findings in a recently released Pew Research Center survey of Jewish Americans, Schneider pointed to evidence of a growing distancing of American Jews from Israel—the major challenge to Israel-Diaspora relations in the future.
Winners of the Award for 2021 are: Nurit Canetti, anchorwoman, editor-in-chief and producer of Galey Zahal—IDF Army Public Radio (broadcast media category) and Dan Lavie, Diaspora Affairs correspondent of Yisrael Hayom (print media category). In addition, Greer Fay Cashman, who has appeared in the Jerusalem Post for more than 45 years, received a Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of the popular “Grapevine” column and the newspaper’s correspondent at the Office of the President of Israel. A special citation for Fostering Israel-Diaspora Relations through the Arts was presented to famous singer, songwriter and author Danny Sanderson. The citation was established in 2014 and has been presented to Nurit Hirsh, David D’Or, Idan Raichel, David Broza, Yehoram Gaon and the Shalva Band.
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in the Israeli print, broadcast and online media. The award highlights the important contributions the media can make toward strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations and is the most prestigious prize in this category. News of the ceremony was carried in major news outlets and it can be watched in its entirety here.
The distinguished members of the award jury are: Ya’akov Ahimeir, past editor and anchor, Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation and Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2016; Professor Yehudith Auerbach, School of Communication, Bar Ilan University; Professor Sergio DellaPergola, The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University; Sallai Meridor, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and former chairman of the Zionist Executive and Jewish Agency for Israel; Professor Gabriela Shalev, Higher Academic Council, Ono Academic College and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations; journalist Yair Sheleg; Asher Weill, publisher and editor of “Ariel” The Israel Review of Arts and Letters (1981-2003).