Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the inaugural recipient of a $1 million award being referred to as the "Jewish Nobel Prize," officials announced Monday.
The Genesis Prize Foundation gave Bloomberg the award for his record of public service and philanthropy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present the mayor with the award next May in Jerusalem, when Bloomberg will decide to which cause he is donating the prize money, his office said.
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Bloomberg was selected from some 200 other nominees to receive the prize, which the foundation said was established to recognize individuals with outstanding achievements who "represent a fundamental value of the Jewish people – a commitment to the betterment of mankind."
The mayor said in a statement that he was deeply honored to be the first recipient.
"Many years ago, my parents instilled in me Jewish values and ethics that I have carried with me throughout my life, and which have guided every aspect of my work in business, government, and philanthropy," he said.
At an unrelated press conference, Bloomberg said he wanted to use the money for an "unconventional" cause that his foundation has not supported in the past.
Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, a member of the selection committee, said Bloomberg set a high bar for future recipients.
"It is a great honor for the entire Jewish people to celebrate his achievements, his commitment to improving the world, and in particular his city: New York," Wiesel said in a statement.
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