Natalie Portman pulls out of Genesis Prize ceremony

Natalie Portman has cancelled her trip to Israel to collect the 2018 Genesis Prize as she “doesn’t feel comfortable” being there following “recent events” in the country.
The Black Swan actress was named the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate in November (17) for inspiring Jews through her professional achievements and her commitment to the Jewish people and values, and was due to attend a ceremony in her birth city of Jerusalem on 28 June (18).
However, representatives for The Genesis Prize Foundation issued a statement on their website on Thursday (19Apr18) revealing that Natalie will no longer travel to Israel to collect the prize, which has been dubbed the “Jewish Nobel”.
They said that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel” and “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony,” so the event has been cancelled.
“We are very saddened that she has decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons,” the foundation said. “We fear that Ms. Portman’s decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicised, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid.
“We extend our apologies to everyone who has been affected by this decision, particularly to the hundreds of international 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.”
When the 36-year-old was announced as the Laureate, it was revealed that the $1 million (£712,000) prize money would be donated to philanthropic programmes which promote women’s equality in her honour.
Natalie did not specify which “recent events” had motivated her decision not to attend the event, but the United Nations and European Union recently called for investigations into the use of live ammunition by Israel’s military, following clashes along the border with Gaza that left dozens of Palestinians dead.