Jerusalem, Israel - June 6, 2023 - President Issac Herzog hosted today, Tuesday, the 17th Sivan, June 6, the awarding ceremony of the Jerusalem Prize for the Unity of Israel at Beit Hanasi. For the ninth time at the President's residence, the ceremony was held this year under the theme "I ask for my brother." The event was attended by Education Minister Yoav Kisch, Deputy Minister of Finance Michal Waldiger, Minister Negev and Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf, MK Chili Trooper, the Shaar family, the Fraenkel family, the Yifrach family, members of the award committee, and the winners' guests.

The Jerusalem Prize for Israeli Unity was born as a social initiative on behalf of the families of the boys Yafarah, Shaar, and Frankel and the former mayor of Jerusalem MK Nir Barkat, after the kidnapping of Iyal, Gil-Ed, and Naftali z"l in the summer of 2014, and the appreciation of the unity that enveloped Israeli society and Diaspora Jewry at the time.

The President opened his remarks by saying: "It is hard to disagree that this status and this day - Unity Day, is at the core of our existence - the existence of the people, the existence of the state, and the existence of Israeli society. After all, there are not many things that the Jewish and Israeli tradition elevates to a miracle more than the need and necessity to strive for unity, cohesion, and mutual acceptance. This reality - in the context of the current controversy surrounding the legal reform - is intolerable in my eyes, and therefore I mobilized with all my might, as did Beit Hanasi and at the request of many in the nation - to help resolve the situation. I can testify that the discussions that are taking place at this time are under the auspices of Beit Hanasi, and there are people here who regularly participate in them. Based on a deep understanding and belief - that the rift needs to be narrowed, and the opinions and perceptions need to be cleared, and hopefully - turn into agreements; there is only one way to do this - by talking, listening, and respecting."

He then continued: "I want to clarify something important here today: the journey to unity between sisters and brothers is not easy. We are a very diverse society, with different religions, different beliefs, different worldviews, and different lifestyles, but that is precisely our beauty, but it was not easy, and it cannot be easy. Because disputes do not arise out of nowhere - by our very being we are different and diverse, and this is the secret of our strength as stated, we must not ignore these disputes, we must deal with them! But this must be done in discourse, with respect, by listening, by talking.

The Minister of Education Kisch: "It is a great privilege for me as the Minister of Education of the State of Israel to take part in this exciting event." The issue of unity in the nation has always been close to my heart and as a member of the Knesset, I founded the unity lobby together with the families of the boys. The message of unity is more significant today than ever. The feeling of solidarity and unity that spread through the nation following the kidnapping of the boys continues to resonate especially on this day and has become an integral part of the fabric of life in Israeli society. A united and cohesive society can create a solid and worthy foundation for future generations. I announced that the Ministry of Education is promoting legislation on Unity Day and I am hopeful that by next year's Unity Day, the legislative process will be completed."

Speaking on behalf of the three families, Avi Fraenkel also called for unity. 

The awards presented were "Leaders' Forum", in the national category, the award was given to "Makum of the Council of Task Groups and Communities in Israel"; in the international category, the award was given to "Momentum"; in the education category, the award was given to the "Sciences and Judaism" education center; and a second prize in the education category was awarded to "Kaleidoscope Initiatives".