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New Yorker wins Israeli honor for helping Syrian refugees

(JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin honored an American-Jewish academic for her efforts to help Syrian refugees.

Rivlin praised the actions of Georgette Bennett at an awards ceremony Thursday in Tel Aviv for eight groups or individuals deemed to have made a positive impact in the developing world.

Bennett, 72, of New York, is the founder of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees. She and the other seven recipients of the Global Impact Awards “represent the best of our academic research, the best of Israeli innovation,” Rivlin said.

Bennett, born in Hungary to Jewish World War II refugees, oversaw her organization’s delivery through Israel of some $120 million’s worth of equipment for relief efforts in Syria, according to OLAM, a Jewish coalition of aid groups and charities that partnered with the event’s organizers at the Society for International Development.

Rivlin called the Syrian civil war a form of “mass murder” to which Israel must “not remain indifferent.”

Other recipients of the award included Jean-Claude Nkulikiyimfura, for his work at youth village in Rwanda; GivingWay; IsraAID; Tahal and Rescuers without Borders.