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Leno will make first visit to Israel to emcee Genesis Prize ceremony

JTA

May 9, 2014 | 2:23 pm

<em>From left: Billy Crystal and Jay Leno at the premiere of the HBO television comedy special "700 Sundays" in Los Angeles on April 17. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters</em>

From left: Billy Crystal and Jay Leno at the premiere of the HBO television comedy special "700 Sundays" in Los Angeles on April 17. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno will visit Israel to host the presentation of the inaugural Genesis Prize.

The May 22 ceremony in Jerusalem will honor former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the $1 million award.

“Jay Leno is a comedic icon who has entertained millions of people around the world for over 20 years,” said Stan Polovets, board chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “What many don’t know, however, is that he is also a great friend to Israel.”

It will be Leno’s first visit to Israel, according to the Genesis Prize Foundation.

Major philanthropists, Nobel laureates and global business leaders are expected to attend the ceremony for Bloomberg, who said he will use the award to promote economic ties between Israelis and Palestinians.

In his third and final term as mayor, Bloomberg was chosen from among more than 200 nominees worldwide because of his “track record of outstanding public service and his role as one of the world’s greatest philanthropists,” according to the prize committee.

The prize, which will be given out annually, is awarded to an accomplished, internationally renowned professional who is a role model in his or her community and can inspire the younger generation of Jews worldwide, according to the Genesis Prize Foundation website.

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