Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is honoring individuals who have made significant contributions in the spirit of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, including Moderna chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks.

An M.D., Ph.D. graduate of BGU, Zaks is spearheading the vaccine research effort for Moderna, which just announced that its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine is 94.5 percent effective.

It will be available in the United States and Israel pending further study and approvals. Zaks, originally from Ra’anana, Israel, moved to the United States in 1996 and first worked on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health. He joined the Boston-based Moderna in 2015.

“David Ben-Gurion’s vision continues to resonate strongly with these award winners,” says BGU president Professor Daniel Chamovitz. “We recognize their unique contributions—scientific breakthroughs alongside community action. Those were Ben-Gurion’s values, and they are our values.”

The awards ceremony is held annually on Ben-Gurion Day, an Israeli holiday that marks the death of one of Israel’s founding fathers and the namesake of the university. A virtual ceremony will be held on Nov, 22 at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (6 p.m. Israel time).

“All eyes around the world are focused on the critical work that Ben-Gurion University alumnus Dr. Tal Zaks is overseeing at Moderna to eradicate this coronavirus pandemic,” says American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev chief executive officer Doug Seserman. “There is no better example of David Ben-Gurion’s vision to share Israel’s resources and brainpower with the world than the success being achieved by Dr. Zaks at Moderna. We congratulate him and are proud he is a recipient of the prestigious Ben-Gurion Award.”

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.