Two nonprofits were awarded the new Israeli Hope Prize on Monday for bringing together diverse parts of Israeli society.

Spearheaded by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli Hope initiative strives for the proper representation of all sectors in Israeli society and for the creation of partnership in social and economic fields. This was the first year the ₪10,000 prize was awarded.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a partner in the Israeli Hope initiative, awarded the prize to the Tech2Peace chosen from 38 nominees.

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi and Prof. Jiwchar Ganor present Israeli Hope Prize to Desert Stars. Photo by Dani Machlis /Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Tech2Peace’s mission is to ensure greater future cooperation and coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian society by running joint IT and peace-building seminars for young Israelis and Palestinians.

Desert Stars aims to develop a new generation of leaders in Bedouin society by promoting young Bedouin with an interest in social engagement.

“Two unique groups were chosen out of a large field of candidates. Desert Stars is raising a new generation of leaders in the Bedouin community, while Tech2Peace forms connections between Jews and Arabs via the language of technology and joint study,” said Rivlin.

“The vision of both these groups and their achievements truly represent a chance for Israeli hope,” he said.

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi noted that “nanotechnology, electric cars and brain research are very important. But if there is one thing that could prevent our [continued status as a] startup nation it would be to allow the gaps in our society and the disconnect between different elements of our society to continue to grow.”

“BGU’s contribution to this issue has been significant and noteworthy, and this prize recognizes, and will continue to recognize each year, individuals and groups that have worked to bring the disparate parts of our society together,” she said.