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Image: Briana Ashby

Benjamin Netanyahu

Winner

Between winning Israeli reelection by a landslide and triggering a crisis in the White House over his speech to Congress, Bibi Netanyahu made lots of headlines in 2015. After calling on U.S. Jewish groups to prevent a U.S.-backed Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu stood before Congress and warned that any nuclear deal with Iran would “pave Iran’s path to the bomb.” Many in the Jewish community applauded Netanyahu for standing up to a deal he called a “stunning historic mistake.” Six months later, he returned to the U.S. to deliver a fiery address to the United Nations, excoriating the international community for its lack of unity over Iran’s hostility toward Israel. 

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Jon Stewart

Honorable Mention

Four nights a week for 16 years, Jon Stewart (né Leibowitz) was the most trusted news source for young Americans as he took satirical journalism to new heights on The Daily Show, frequently reminding us we weren’t the only ones in disbelief over the incompetence of those in charge. Using his sharp wit and scathing sarcasm to expose everything from the nonsense of the news cycle to the hypocrisy of contemporary politics, Stewart became our most perceptive media critic, achieving both critical and commercial acclaim. Always a humble mensch, Stewart maintained he was nothing more than a comic, that he was not so much pro-Progressivism as he was anti-B.S.

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Magda Schaloum, z”l

Honorable Mention

With the death of Auschwitz survivor Magda Schaloum in June at the age of 92, the local Jewish community lost a beloved fighter and storyteller who made it her life’s work to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust would never be forgotten. Schaloum, who married a fellow Hungarian survivor after being the last surviving member of her family, spent her years sharing her experience and life lessons as a public speaker and activist. In 1989, she helped found the Washington State Holocaust and Education Resource Center, now known as the Holocaust Center for Humanity — the state’s first Holocaust museum and educational center.

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Image: Briana Ashby

Alberto Nisman, z”l

Honorable Mention

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment in January just before he was about to testify in front of the Argentine Congress to outline a criminal deal between the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Iran to protect the Iranian government from culpability in the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires. Kirchner has denied Nisman’s allegations, and her cabinet has said he committed suicide. Forensic experts, however, have disagreed on the cause of death, with some believing it was murder. In February, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies created the Alberto Nisman Award for Courage in his honor. 

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1st Place

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Runners-Up

  • Alberto Nisman
  • Ari Hoffman
  • Jon Stewart
  • Magda Schaloum
  • Malka Popper
  • Margot Kravette
  • Standwithus Northwest

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