The Jerusalem Unity Prize in Memory of Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali, and Unity Day, is a joint initiative between the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, the families of Eyal Ifrach, Gil-ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel z”l, and Gesher. As the week of mourning for the boys was coming to an end in the summer of 2014, Mayor Barkat and the families searched for the appropriate way to nurture the flames of unity that so engulfed the Jewish people during that time, and keep them burning. The Jerusalem Unity Prize and Unity Day honor that sense of togetherness and hope that was so tangible during those 18 days from when the boys were kidnapped and until their bodies were found.
The Jerusalem Unity Prizes are substantial awards given to individuals, organizations, and initiatives in Israel and throughout the Jewish world whose actions are instrumental in advancing mutual respect for others amongst the Jewish people, both in times of crisis and in daily life. The Prizes are awarded during a special ceremony held at the President of Israel’s official residence on Unity Day, at the beginning of June each year. In the 2 years since the launch of Unity Day, 26 countries throughout the world, and over 1.5 million people have marked the day. Unity Day is a global movement joining schools, youth movements, congregations and communities for activities, conversation and inspiration. Unity Day 2017 will be marked on June 7, 2017.