JFN Co-Chair Avi Naor Receives Israel Prize, State’s Most Prestigious Award

NEW YORK, May 8, 2014—Avi Naor, the Jewish Funders Network co-chair, has received the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement for his pivotal role in fueling the growth of Israel’s high-tech industry and making  philanthropy an increasingly prominent feature of the Israeli landscape.

Naor was awarded the Prize, Israel’s most prestigious award, on Yom Ha'atzmaut, the State’s Independence Day, on May 6.

Naor was named JFN co-chair in March, serving alongside Dorothy Tananbaum. He is the first Israeli to hold the position.

Naor is widely regarded as a founding father of the Israeli high-tech industry, one of the key drivers of the State’s economy. He was part of the team that founded Amdocs, a leading software maker that now has 21,000 employees in more than 70 countries. He retired in 2002 to devote his time to social activism.

It was a family tragedy that first drew Naor to philanthropy in 1997, when his son Ran was killed in a traffic accident while serving in the military. Naor founded the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving in Israel to find ways to stem Israel’s epidemic of fatal road crashes.

Or Yarok coordinates a network of more than 10,000 volunteers for such projects as providing driver education for young drivers, donating cars for Israel’s traffic police, and holding road safety lectures. The judging committee that awarded the Israel Prize largely attributed the 36 percent drop in traffic deaths over the last decade to Or Yarok.

Naor was also cited for supporting social programs, such as the Israeli Public Forum, which he founded to establish youth villages and boarding schools for children and youth at risk. He helped initiate and found, the Shahaf Foundation to support the young communities’ phenomenon in Israel.

Naor, who is one of the founders of JFN Israel, is also one of the original members of Committed to Give, a partnership between JFN and Sheatufim, which aims to increase both the culture and quality of private philanthropy in Israel.