Culture

Citing 'recent events,' Natalie Portman won't come to Israel to accept award

Citing 'recent events,' Natalie Portman won't come to Israel to accept award”

U.S. actress Natalie Portman, this year's recipient of a prize dubbed the "Jewish Nobel", has pulled out of the June awards ceremony in Israel because of extreme distress over recent events in the country, the Genesis Prize Foundation said.

The foundation apologised for the cancellation of the ceremony that was to be held in June, "particularly to the hundreds of global guests who made plans to fly to Jerusalem to honour Ms Portman and celebrate the contribution of Jewish women to humanity, the main theme of this year's ceremony".

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Genesis Prize Foundation - which is described as the "Jewish Nobel Prize" recognizing Jewish people who have achieved excellence in their fields - has chose to cancel the 2018 ceremony in light of Portman's non-attendance.

Israel has drawn worldwide criticism in recent weeks for lethal tactics used during clashes with Palestinians along the border with Gaza. Hamas has acknowledged five of the dead were its members, and Israel has identified several others as members of terrorist organizations. Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border.

From left to right: Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Itzhak Perlman, Genesis Prize cofounder Stan Polovets, Natan Sharansky and Dame Helen Mirren, at the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, June 23, 2016.

The actress had been announced as an honoree by the Genesis Prize Foundation in November.

It was not clear whether she would still be eligible for the prize money, which had been doubled by a donation from the Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn. The foundation did not indicate whether Portman would still receive the prize money in light of her announcement. She also directed and starred in a Hebrew-language adaptation of Israeli novelist Amos Oz's memoir, "A Tale of Love and Darkness".

Portman, who was born in Jerusalem before moving to the United Staes, has added a lifetime of activism to her acting reel, including work in gender equality and animal rights.

The organizers of the million-dollar Genesis Prize, awarded for commitment to Israel and Judaism, subsequently announced they will not hold the ceremony this year. "I do not. I don't want to do that".



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