Natalie Portman Cancels Trip To Israel To Accept Award

Lawrence Kim
April 20, 2018

USA 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.

"However, we are very saddened that she has decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons".

Natalie Portman has backed out of a trip to Israel for the Geneis Prize Foundation ceremony.


While Portman, perhaps best known for her work alongside Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, has positioned herself as a proud supporter of Israel, it appears she will not step foot in the country as a result of recent efforts by Israel to secure its borders against unlawful intruders, who have been met with a violent response in recent weeks after they stormed the Israeli border and took aim at Jewish forces.

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.

Portman, who was born in Jerusalem and has dual Israeli-American citizenship, was announced as the victor of the award in November.

Last November, Portman was selected to receive the 2018 Genesis Prize, dubbed the "Jewish Nobel", for her demonstration of "outstanding professional achievement and commitment to the Jewish people and Jewish values, such as social justice, tolerance and charity".

Genesis said in December Portman's prize money had been doubled to $2 million by a donation by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn.

In 2009, Portman joined other Hollywood stars in protesting calls for a boycott against the Toronto International Film Festival for its staging of a Tel Aviv-themed event. In 2015, she directed "Tale of Love and Darkness", a Hebrew-language film made in Israel and based on the novel by an Israeli writer Amos Oz.

When Portman was announced late past year as the 2018 recipient, she said in a statement released by organizers at the time that she was "proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage".

"I find his racist comments horrific", she told The Hollywood Reporter. "I do not. I don't want to do that".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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