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Israel PM Netanyahu Awards Prize for Non-Profit Innovation to Appleseeds Academy

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Appleseeds Academy, awarded Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Initiatives and Innovation, in the non-profit category. Photo: AA.

Appleseeds Academy, awarded Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Initiatives and Innovation, in the non-profit category. Photo: AA.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday awarded his Prize for Initiatives and Innovation for non-profits to Dafna Lifshitz, CEO of Appleseeds Academy, at a ceremony at Tel Aviv University, in the fourth edition of the award.

The Prize was founded by the Prime Minister to reward initiatives and innovation that make a special contribution to society and are of far-reaching socio-economic influence, his office said in a statement.

The Prize was designed to encourage innovative thinking, imagination and creativity and effect significant changes in society, the environment, science, and technology. The Cabinet decided that the Prize would be awarded near Herzl Day (the 9th of the Hebrew Month of Iyar, this Friday), in order to express the link between Zionist leader Theodor Herzl and contemporary initiatives and innovation.

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The Prize is awarded in two fields: initiatives for profit and initiatives not for profit. Each winner will receive NIS 80,000 ($23,000); those receiving an honorable mention will receive NIS 30,000 each.

Non-profit prize winner Appleseeds Academy works to “provide an equal opportunity to Israel’s socially disadvantaged communities through technological tools and the development of life skills.”

The honorable mention for the non-profit sector went to Ayala Tal-El, founder of Israel AV, which works with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and seeks to integrate them in regular educational frameworks, and society as a whole, aided by unique innovative treatments and technology.

There were three honorable mentions for the profit category. The award winners were Zeev Birger, founder and CTO of Top-It-Up, Ltd., which has developed floating modular covers for reservoirs in order to minimize evaporation and improve water quality; Amihai Miron, co-founder and CEO of User1st, which provides, “a cloud-based online solution for web accessibility designed to help end users with a broad spectrum of impairments with accessible versions of websites;” and Ziv Dubinsky, founder of Metabolic Robots, Ltd., which has developed an automated poultry feeding system that, “manages the amount of feed given at any moment,” and significantly increases profitability.

The Prize selection committee was chaired by Prof. Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council. Members included Tammy Hauspeter, Adviser to the Prime Minister and initiator of the Prize; Maxine Fassberg, Intel Israel General Manager; Prof. Dafna Schwartz, Ben-Gurion University Dept. of Business Administration; Dr. Harry Yuklea, from the Technion University;  Dr. Giora Yaron, Co-Chairman of the Board of Itamar Medical; and Saul Singer, co-author of ‘Start-Up Nation.’

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