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

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 20, 2018

However, on Thursday Portman announced she would not be attending the ceremony after all, with a rep for the foundation telling the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that "recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel", adding that "she can not in good conscience move forward with the ceremony".

The organisation, Genesis Prize Foundation, has cancelled its annual ceremony after Portman's decision to not take part in the June event which is Israel's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The foundation said that Portman's representative notified it that "r$3 ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel" and that "she can not in good conscience move forward with the ceremony". "After a number of conversations with Ms. Portman and her representatives, we have been advised that Ms. Portman's decision is firm and will not be changed".

While the foundation did not specify Portman's reasoning, the announcement comes less than a week after the European Union called for an investigation into the Israeli military's use of live ammunion in an attack along the Gaza border that left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded.

A rep for Portman declined to comment.

Portman was announced as the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate in November and she committed to "re-gift" the $1 million in prize money to advance women's equality, the organization said in a statement. "The staff of the Foundation enjoyed getting to know her over the past six months, admires her humanity, and respects her right to publicly disagree with the policies of the government of Israel", the foundation said.

The Genesis Prize Foundation cancelled the prize ceremony, saying in a statement that its organizers "fear that Ms. Portman's decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicized, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid".

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