7 Anglo immigrants to receive achievement award
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7 Anglo immigrants to receive achievement award

South African fighter pilot who helped found Israel Air Force among recipients of annual ‘Builders of Zion’ prize

2019 winners of the Bonei Zion award from Nefesh BNefesh: (l-r) Dr. Beverly Gribetz, Danny Hakim, Dr. Ora Paltiel, Harold “Smoky” Simon, Leah Abramowitz, Michael Dickson, Miriam Ballin. (Courtesy)
2019 winners of the Bonei Zion award from Nefesh BNefesh: (l-r) Dr. Beverly Gribetz, Danny Hakim, Dr. Ora Paltiel, Harold “Smoky” Simon, Leah Abramowitz, Michael Dickson, Miriam Ballin. (Courtesy)

JTA — A South African who flew combat missions in Israel’s War of Independence and the US-born founder of a pluralistic Orthodox school for girls were among seven immigrants recognized for making major contributions to Israel.

They were recognized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that helps Diaspora Jews make aliyah, which announced Monday the winners of the 2019 Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize, awarded annually to English-speaking immigrants.

The honorees and their award categories are Ora Paltiel, director, Hadassah Center for Research in Clinical Epidemiology (Science and Medicine); Leah Abramowitz, co-founder of Melabev, a service for dementia patients (Community and Non-Profit); Michael Dickson, executive director of StandWithUs–Israel (Israel Advocacy); Beverly Gribetz, principal of the Evelina de Rothschild-Tehilla Secondary School in Jerusalem (Education); and Danny Hakim, founder and chairman of Budo for Peace and chairman of Kids Kicking Cancer Israel (Culture, Art & Sports).

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Harold “Smoky” Simon, who played a key role in the founding of the Israeli Air Force and served as acting chairman of World Machal, an organization for overseas veterans of Israel’s wars.

Young US Jews who immigrated to Israel to join the IDF pose with executives from Nefesh B’Nefesh (center) after their flight lands in Israel on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 (Shahar Azran)

The Young Leadership Prize was awarded to Miriam Ballin, founder of the United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit.

Hundreds of immigrants from English-speaking countries were nominated for the prize, funded by Canadian-born real estate mogul and philanthropist Sylvan Adams, who himself moved to Israel in 2015. Adams is also known for helping fund Israel’s Beresheet moon lander and bringing the Giro d’Italia bike race to the country.

The award “recognizes outstanding Anglo olim who have helped Israel in a meaningful way by encapsulating the spirit of modern-day Zionism and contributing in significant ways towards the State of Israel,” Nefesh B’Nefesh said in a statement.

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