Photo Credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)
Natan Sharansky (c.) receives the Genesis Prize with President Rivlin looking on (r.)

President of Israel Reuven Rivlin on Thursday night hosted the 2020 Genesis Prize ceremony and awarded the $1 million prize to Natan Sharansky, a former Prisoner of Zion, human rights activist, and politician, for his service over many years to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Genesis Prize winners over the years have chosen to donate their prize money to their favorite charity, and this year, Sharansky decided to give the money to the effort of halting the spread of the coronavirus and helping those who have been affected by the disease. At the ceremony, Sharansky, the Genesis Fund, and Startup Nation Central announced the winners of the competition for start-ups offering technology solutions in the fight against corona.

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The president began his remarks saying, “Natan, you never rest. You took on new roles to promote Jewish unity, strengthen Israeli society, and fight anti-Semitism. It is, therefore, no surprise that you have chosen to use the $1 million Genesis Prize money and to give that money to philanthropic and high-tech initiatives that are trying to address the greatest challenge facing the world today, the coronavirus. The grants were made with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations in Israel. Thank you, Natan, my dear friend! I know that you will not stop here. You will continue to take on new challenges and to fight for the Jewish people and for human rights. We are all looking forward to seeing what you do next.”

The Genesis Prize recipient said: “I was chosen to receive the Genesis Prize nearly a year ago and so much has changed since then. I would like to thank the Genesis Prize for the opportunity to make a significant contribution to fight the disease. Facing the social challenges that Israel faces, the contribution of the Israeli hi-tech industry to the global fight against corona is a great source of pride that warms my heart. The most basic Jewish value of mutual assistance has been realized – and I call on other Israeli companies to join this effort.”

Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Genesis Prize Stan Polovets said: “The competition in honor of Natan Sharansky showed the innovative potential of the Israeli bio-tech and hi-tech industries. The participants displayed world-class expertise and ability in responding to the unprecedented health challenge that the whole world is facing. Israeli companies and entrepreneurs are taking their place in the world as suppliers of innovative solutions in the field of health and technology and we are glad to support that growth.”

“The State of Israel is very experienced in dealing with emergency situations and in ground-breaking innovative thinking – two important advantages for Israel and the countries of the world in fighting the spread of the coronavirus and its implications,” said Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central (SNC). We are very proud of the competition winners, and of the whole Israeli innovation community and its significant contribution to the global fight against corona.”

The ten winners who will share the donated prize money are:

  • EyeControl, an innovative communications solution for ventilated patients in ICUs
  • K Health, a personalized artificial intelligence-based health assistant, which shows patients how doctors have diagnosed and treated other people with similar cases
  • Biobeat, which develops a wearable device for continuous, noninvasive, accurate, medical-grade monitoring of vital signs
  • Kamada, a plasma-derived protein therapeutics company, which completed manufacturing the first batch of its plasma-derived Immunoglobulin G (IgG) product for coronavirus patients
  • Sonovia, the developer of the cutting-edge nanotextile “SonoMask,” a face mask that has been proven to be more than 90 percent effective against coronaviruses, and 99.89% effective against other viruses
  • Picodya Technologies, an in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) platform suitable for mass deployment at the point of care, from ICUs and hospital departments to field hospitals, clinics, and home care settings
  • Sight Diagnostics, which uses advanced computer-vision and machine-learning technologies in the field of blood diagnostics
  • MyZeppi, whose technology is designed to help older adults and their caregivers “visit” each other through video calls via self-flying helium balloons
  • Pluristem Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company developing a novel platform of biological products to treat coronavirus
  • Israel Aerospace Industries, which has developed a model that uses artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning to predict the progression of the disease and coronavirus patients’ medical status
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