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Al Gore Awarded $1 Million Prize from Israeli Foundation

The invitees to last night’s Dan David Prize ceremony—during which generous awards were given to Former Vice President Al Gore, Amos Oz, and Sir Tom Stoppard, among others—were a mixed bunch. Young Israelis who regard flip flops as formal attire … Read More

By / May 20, 2008

The invitees to last night’s Dan David Prize ceremony—during which generous awards were given to Former Vice President Al Gore, Amos Oz, and Sir Tom Stoppard, among others—were a mixed bunch. Young Israelis who regard flip flops as formal attire mingled with perfectly-coiffed, elderly American Jewish ladies. Scruffy journalists in t-shirts and Crocs mixed with distinguished diplomats. Israeli politicians and celebrities circulated among the anonymous masses. A few things unified this mixed bag of guests, however:

  1. Regardless of the formality of their dress, young hipsters and elegant elders alike pounced upon the refreshment bar as soon as the doors to the event opened.
  2. In typical Israeli fashion, everyone had at least one cell phone and used it constantly.
  3. Regardless of their dress or stature, everyone knew who the star of the evening was: Al Gore.

Al Gore is beloved by Israelis, so despite the fact that he was awarded the Dan David Prize last night in recognition of his contributions to raising awareness about our planetary environmental crisis, everyone attending the ceremony admired him for his support of the State of Israel as well. Israeli President Shimon Peres made this crystal clear when he said, during his address, that “Al Gore has many titles. I will not repeat them. Al Gore is a dear and good friend of the State of Israel.” Gore, who with his slight Southern accent and cowboy boots (yes, he wore cowboy boots) appeared to be a type of environmental Lone Ranger, received the prize and addressed the audience with his characteristic charisma. After congratulating Israel on its recent Independence Day, he encouraged us all to act urgently in order to push the political tipping point and put renewable energy on the agenda. He said that, among other things, the environmental crisis is a political problem in that it's a matter of getting politicians to address these issues. What we need, Gore said, is “sufficient political will. But as the people of Israel know, sufficient political will is a renewable resource.” In the meantime, Gore will be sponsoring other kinds of renewable energy. Today he'll deliver the opening lecture at a two-day conference called “Renewable Energy and Beyond” that will be held at Tel Aviv University. Among the topics to be discussed are global warming and geopolitics, Israel’s road to energy independence, and business opportunities for sustainable energy. So, what is Al doing with his cool $1 million, you might ask? He’s donating 10% to young researchers in the field…and 90% to the Alliance for Climate Protection. And not spending any on new cowboy boots. Photo credit: Courtesy of Haaretz (Tomer Appelbaum)

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