The awards ceremony was emceed by British actress Helen Mirren (see above story). Perlman also received congratulatory messages from President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Known as the “Jewish Nobel,” the Genesis Prize is given to those who have risen to a state of excellence in their chosen field, inspire others and are dedicated to Jewish values and the State of Israel. It includes a $1 million gift.
Perlman is the third person to receive the award. Previous winners were philanthropist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2014, and actor Michael Douglas in 2015.
“Itzhak, on behalf of the people of Israel, we applaud your accomplishments, your dedication, your passion,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who presented the award to Perlman. “Your music and your passion will continue to resonate for generations to come. Mazal tov [congratulations] on this well-deserved accomplishment.”
Perlman responded that what he cherished the most “is the opportunity given to me…to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”