The Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society is a biennial literary award given to writers whose works have dealt with themes of human freedom in society. It is awarded at the Jerusalem International Book Fair, and the recipient usually delivers an address when accepting the award. The award is valued at $10,000, a modest amount that “reflects that it was never intended to be anything more than a symbolic sum.” The prize’s inaugural year was 1963, awarded to Bertrand Russell who had won the Nobel Prize in 1950. Octavio Paz, V. S. Naipaul, J. M. Coetzee and Mario Vargas Llosa all won the Jerusalem Prize prior to winning the Nobel.
In the intervening even-numbered years there is also a National Jerusalem Prize to promote local Israeli authors. For example, in 1994 the Jerusalem Prize was won by Naomi Gal.
In Australia, the Jerusalem Prize is awarded annually by the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), the Zionist Federation of Australia and the World Zionist Federation, to an outstanding individual who supports Israel and the Zionist movement.
Some recipients of the prize have been pressured by anti-Israel activists to turn it down and boycott the award ceremony