JNF-KKL Board Member Alon Tal Receives $100,000 Humanitarian Award
Recognized for his work as an Israeli Environmentalist
Contact: Jodi Bodner• JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221• firstname.lastname@example.org
January 10, 2006, New York, NY -- The $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize, a prestigious humanitarian award, was bestowed on Dr. Alon Tal in Jerusalem, Israel on January 10, 2006.
Tal, 45, is the founder of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Israel Union for Environmental Defense. He is a board member of Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, where he serves as chairman of the Sub-Committee for Sustainable Development which has drafted the new environmental policies of the JNF.
“We congratulate Alon on receiving this most distinguished award,” said Ronald S. Lauder, president of JNF of America. “It could not have gone to a more deserving person. Ever since we partnered with the Arava Insititute for Environmental Studies which Alon founded in 1996, we have witnessed first-hand his extreme dedication and passion for Israel and her environment. He is the author of our Sustainable Development policy and as such has helped us put into place a program that will protect the country’s natural resources and ensure the quality of life for the entire people, today and tomorrow.”
The Prize celebrates the vision and talent of an individual or team whose humanitarian work has contributed significantly to the betterment of the world. The achievements of Prize recipients are emblematic of Jewish values and a regard for humanity that inspire the emerging generation. Nominations were accepted internationally on behalf of candidates under 50 years of age.
Tal is only the second recipient of the Prize. Jay Feinberg, founder of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, was the Prize’s first recipient.
“Partnerships like what JNF enjoys with the Arava Institute,” said Tal, “are critical for both Israel and JNF as it moves forward to embrace its identity as a serious Zionist environmental organization. And as it does that, it must include the best and brightest of the academic institutions such as the Arava.
“There is no question that if Israel is going to preserve even a fraction of its open spaces in the north and central areas of the country, it must shift its focus and develop the Negev," he continued. "I am most excited by the projects JNF-KKL has embarked on to revitalize some of the existing Negev communities such as Ofakim, Yerucham and Beersheva.”
As part of its Blueprint Negev campaign to develop the Negev into a hospitable environment, revitalize existing communities and create a home for an additional 250,000 residents, JNF is partnering to build Aleh Negev, a state of the art rehabilitative village situated near the city of Ofakim. Home to more than 500 residential adults with disabilities it will also serve some 12,000 children and young adults with disabilities on an outpatient basis and will bring several thousand much-needed services and jobs to the area. Plans include integrating the children of Ofakim’s into Aleh’s activities so they learn how to appreciate diversity. A central park that will enhance the lives of Ofakim residents is also being built.
In Beersheva, new housing and large parks are being built and together with the Beersheva Foundation, JNF-KKL and the Or Movement are creating a $300 million consortium of products that will transform Beersheva into a bustling metropolis.
“What JNF-KKL did with the restoration of Nahal Beersheva illustrates what needs to be done with the other rivers and streams,” said Tal. "They are the nation’s orphans. It’s our responsibility to bring them back. I hope JNF-KKL will continue in this vital work.”
Alon Tal has degrees in political science from the Universityof North Carolina and Law from Hebrew University. He completed his doctoral studies at Harvard University where he served as an adjunct faculty member between 1989 and 1998. In 1990 Dr. Tal founded Adam Teva V'din - the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, a public interest advocacy group, now Israel's second largest environmental organization. In 1996 he founded the Arava Institute, where he served as Director and more recently as Director of Research. Dr. Tal served as Chairman of Israel's umbrella group for environmental organizations between 1999 and 2004 and was recently appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to join the Israeli government delegation to the United Nations for Combating Desertification. He is Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the November, 2006 conference on Deserts and Desertification: Challenges and Opportunities, the first event co-sponsored by a United Nations Convention to be held in Israel. He has a wife, three children and enjoys running, tennis and playing bluegrass music.
“I am very grateful for this prize,” said Tal. “It presents this wonderful once-in-a-life-time philanthropic opportunity to create a foundation to support Israeli grassroots activists who face emergency situations. It will help me fulfill this lifelong dream.”
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
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