IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer receives Charles Bronfman Prize

8 May, 2023


Yotam Polizer, the CEO of Israel’s leading humanitarian aid organization, IsraAID, received the 2023 Charles Bronfman Prize in a ceremony in New York on Sunday. The annual award is presented to a humanitarian whose work, informed by Jewish values, has significantly impacted the world.

The prize ceremony was held at the New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, at 5P.M. on May 7. Speakers included Rodaba Noori, a member of the Afghan Women’s Robotics Team, who was evacuated by IsraAID after the Taliban takeover, and Afghan Ambassador Said Jawad – former ambassador to the U.S., U.K. and Russia, who partnered with Yotam in this evacuation effort.

Polizer, 40, first joined IsraAID as a volunteer in 2011, leading the organization’s relief mission to Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that left 20,000 people dead. Polizer soon became the organization’s second full-time employee, leading emergency missions to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola crisis, Nepal following the 2015 earthquake, and Greece and Germany during the 2015 Mediterranean Refugee Crisis, before becoming co-CEO in 2017 and Global CEO in 2019. In 2021, he led the complex evacuation of 205 vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the country.

The Charles Bronfman Prize is an annual award of $100,000 presented to a humanitarian under fifty whose innovative work, informed by Jewish values, has significantly improved the world. The Prize was founded by Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, together with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, to honor their father on his 70th birthday. Yotam joins an “exceptional cohort of past Prize recipients,” including those in the fields of health care, environment, refugee advocacy, education and the arts, Ellen Bronfman Hauptman pointed out.

IsraAID’s CEO Yotam Polizer, said:

“I am incredibly honored to be joining the family of Bronfman Prize recipients. I am grateful to the global network of IsraAID team members, communities, and supporters that make IsraAID’s work possible. The staff and communities on the ground are the real heroes and inspire me every day – from supporting communities affected by drought in Kenya, to building climate resilience in Vanuatu, and supporting communities in Ukraine. This honor belongs to them, and that’s why I will be investing a large portion of the prize back into the organization. This award comes during an exciting period of growth for the organization, and we will be announcing new developments at the prize ceremony.”

Charles Bronfman said:

“We continue to be in awe of these recipients and the good they are doing in the world. The impact and scope of Yotam’s work is extraordinary. His and IsraAID’s efforts have saved the lives of thousands around the world threatened by disaster and restored dignity to millions more.”


Further information is available on request, including interviews with Yotam Polizer, Ellen Bronfman Hauptman, Charles Bronfman, and Rodaba Noori.


Shachar May
Email: [email protected]


IsraAID is a leading international humanitarian non-governmental organization, based in Israel. Since 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, post-trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses to disasters and civil strife around the world. During and after emergencies, IsraAID partners with local communities to re-build their lives, their communities and their futures, together. As of May, 2023, IsraAID has responded to crises in more than 60 countries.

For more information on the Charles Bronfman Prize please visit:


Related articles

2 April, 2024

Press Release

IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid group, released the following statement in response to the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in the Gaza Strip on Monday night: “We are shocked and devastated by the deaths of World...

IsraAID statement on the deaths of World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza

25 January, 2024

Press Release

IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid organization, is entering a new stage of its emergency response in Israel, accompanying evacuated Gaza border region communities as they move from hotels and hostels in the Dead Sea and Eilat to new, longer-term...

IsraAID supporting evacuated communities in next stages of recovery

12 November, 2023

Press Release

IsraAID, AJEEC-NISPED and the Tamar Center partnering to install protective spaces as fighting puts Bedouin communities at disproportionate risk Sunday, November 12, 2023. For immediate release: IsraAID, Israel’s leading international humanitarian NGO, is delivering and installing protective spaces for unrecognized...

Israeli NGOs bring rocket shelters to unrecognized Bedouin villages