1995 was a difficult year for tolerance and public debate in Israel - a year that saw a rise in conflicts exacerbated by lack of inter-communal dialogue, incitement against democratic values and even physical violence which culminated in the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
This atmosphere of increasing tension prompted the Jerusalem Foundation to step up its efforts to encourage the work of local bodies involved in promoting coexistence, good neighborly relations, tolerance and democracy in Jerusalem.
It was natural for the Foundation to turn for assistance in this field to a veteran donor family from Europe, survivors of the Holocaust who see Israel as their second home. They decided to establish a prize which would be awarded annually to those who instill democratic ideals in the city and which would enable them to promote an educational program in the spirit of the prize.
A distinguished awards committee was set up, headed by Prof. Menachem Ya’ari, a member of the Jerusalem Foundation Board of Governors and winner of the Israel Prize, and with Ruth Cheshin President of the Jerusalem Foundation, Prof. Michael Sela of the Weizmann Institute, Prof. Mordechai Shani director of the Sheba Medical Center, Avener Haramati, director of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center, and George Sama'an director the YMCA - Jerusalem.
Amin Khalaf - Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Hand in Hand Association.
The Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center
The Interreligious Coordinating Council of Israel (ICCI)
"I Am You Are" Films and Identity - A film workshop for Israeli and Arab teens that changes lives while proving that cinema can be a tool for personal, social, and political change.
Natan Lavon - A social worker and devoted initiator who has worked tirelessly over the years to bring Jews and Arabs together and to improve life for Jerusalem's elderly citizens.
"Heezinu" - Project for Jewish and Arab high school students to explore one another's cultures and heritages through the joint production of a music CD, held at the Jerusalem School of Photography.
Yoss Fischer - For his more than 40 years of work towards equality and understanding between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem.
"Bnei Shem" - Project that brings Jewish and Arab youth at-risk together at the Ein Yael Living Museum
"Red Lines in Israeli Democracy" - interactive educational program at the Yitzchak Rabin Youth Hostel, which lepds foster discussion of current events
Ossim Shalom (Social Workers for Peace) Organization
Michal Smoira-Cohn - Founder of the Sovlanut (Tolerance) Movement
Amir Zohar, of blessed memory - Former Director of the East Talpiot Community Center
Dr. Tamar Verete-Zehavi and Abedaldalam Yunis - Teachers ad the David Yellin College of Education
Uri Amedi - director of the Lev Hair Community Center
Uki Maroshek-Klarman - Educational Director of the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace in Memory of Emil Greenzweig
Rizek Abusharr - Director of the Jerusalem YMCA
The Martha Prize