TEL AVIV, Israel – The nation’s food bank, Leket Israel’s founder and Chairman Joseph Gitler, was awarded the Yigal Alon Prize for his work in the campaign against hunger in Israel. The Yigal Alon Prize is bestowed by the Palmach Generation Organization to commemorate the Israeli general, politician and pioneer who commanded the legendary pre-independence military group. Winners are chosen annually and have included former director of the Mossad Meir Amit, former Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna, designer of the Merkava tank Israel Tal, and social activist Ruth Dayan for their pioneering actions and contributions to the State of Israel. When Gitler first started Leket in 2003, he collected and distributed food using only his car and home refrigerator. Today, the organization has 100 employees and 52,000 yearly volunteers, 10 refrigerated trucks and a large warehouse in the center of Israel. Leket collects and redistributes food on a national level, providing over 2 million meals annually. Gitler is the first U.S. immigrant to Israel to receive the award.
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