Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Remarks at the Genesis Prize Award Ceremony
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this evening (Thursday, 23 June 2016), at the Jerusalem Theater, attended the 2016 Genesis Prize award ceremony.
This year's laureate is violinist Itzhak Perlman. The event was directed by Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Genesis honors individuals who have attained excellence and renown in their field and inspire others through their dedication to Israel, the Jewish people and humanity as a whole. The prize is centered in Israel but its impact is universal. Winning the prize is not the end, but the beginning for many of the laureates. There are only two so far. There'll be three. But I think it opens them up to a different, a new direction. And they dedicate the coming year to inspiring the next generation with their vision and their advocacy. Two years ago, Michael Bloomberg won; last year, Michael Douglas won. This year, Itzhak Perlman won.
I asked Itzhak today in a wonderful lunch we had in our residence with Toby and Sara and their family, I asked him a question: Will a computer replace your music? And he thought for a while, and he said, "No, because it has no soul. It doesn't have these peculiarities of the human heart and that's what comes out." So computers can do a lot of things, but they can't replace the genius of the human heart. And I think this is what has made you one of the most accomplished musicians in the world. You embody excellence.
But it's not just proficiency. It's excellence of the spirit. It comes from inside you. You couldn't explain to me, because I asked you, what comes out from inside you, how does it come out from inside you? But you said it comes from inside me. But you nevertheless have tried to be a teacher and a role model to millions. You have been. You're an advocate for those whose bodies are disabled but whose spirits never are, and you are deeply committed to the Jewish people's heritage and you're passionate about our future.
Your music, Itzhak, exemplifies the profound human drive for creativity and beauty. It gives meaning to our lives. Last year, when you received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, you were called the 'fiddler of the world.' I think you should be called the fiddler of the roof of the world, but the point is clear.
Your music has graced audiences on every continent for generations, and you're a source of inspiration for those with special needs. I think you're a source of inspiration for those without special needs, because it tells us what we can achieve if we choose to overcome our disabilities. We all have our disabilities and limitations. Some politicians don't, but other than that, everybody has limitations, disabilities, and you have overcame tremendous challenges after having been stricken by polio at the age of four. Now virtually all of your free time goes to teaching young musicians and advocating for those with physical disabilities.
Throughout this you've maintained this strong connection to Israel, the land of your birth. You return here annually to teach and to perform, and I think you inspire all of us.
So, Itzhak, on behalf of the people of Israel, we applaud your accomplishments, your dedication, your passion. Your music and your passion will continue to resonate for generations to come. Mazal tov on this well-deserved accomplishment."
Attached photo credit: Koby Gideon (GPO)