Natalie Portman refuses 'Jewish Nobel', ceremony cancelled

Bessie Dean
April 21, 2018

The Oscar victor has dual citizenship in both Israel and America, and provocative Israeli politician Oren Hazan has suggested extreme measures, requesting that Portman's citizenship be taken away, while others have cited her as being "one of us" who "identifies with her Judaism and Israeliness".

"From the outset, the idea of granting the Genesis Prize to Natalie Portman was complete craziness", Member of Knesset (MK) Oren Hazan said, as cited by Arutz Sheva.

The Genesis Prize Foundation, which named the Israeli-born actress as the recipient of the Genesis award, was notified by a representative of the actress that "recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her" and that she will not be coming to Israel for the 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 made a decision to cancel the 2018 ceremony in light of Portman's non-attendance.

The Genesis Prize Foundation has yet to indicate whether Portman will still receive the prize money despite pulling out of the ceremony.

Israel has faced global criticism over its response to recent mass marches on the Gaza border, in which 37 Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire, a lot of them protesters. It has canceled the award ceremony in June as a result. The attack left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds injured.

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"[She is] a Jewish Israeli, who on the one hand cynically uses her birthplace to advance her career and on the other is proud of the fact that she managed to avoid enlisting in the IDF", he continued. The award is the counterpart for the Nobel Prize in the United States and called "The Jewish Nobel" in Israel.

In comments reported by Israeli media, Culture Minister Miri Regev said Friday that she was sorry Portman had "fallen like a ripe fruit into the hands of BDS supporters", a reference to a Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Regev is referring to the actress' 2015 feature film directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, the big screen adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz's autobiographical novel.

Worldwide guests were expected to fly to Jerusalem to honor the actress and celebrate the contribution of Jewish women to humanity. "I do not. I don't want to do that".

Dubbed the "Jewish Nobel,"the prize was launched in 2013 and has since been awarded to actor Michael Douglas, ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sculptor Anish Kapoor, and violinist Itzhak Perlman".

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