Genesis award is known as the “Jewish Nobel Prize.”
Natalie Portman will not attend the 2018 Genesis Award ceremony in Jerusalem, where she is an honored recipient of a prize worth two million dollars. She cited “distress” over recent events in Israel as the decision not to attend the event. The Genesis Award is known as the “Jewish Nobel” in the international arena.
The Genesis Prize Foundation annually honors people “who inspire others through their dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values.” The foundation announced in November that Portman would be the prize's 2018 laureate.
Portman is Jerusalem-born and holds both U.S. and Israeli citizenship. Portman’s representative informed the foundation that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel.” Although, the representative made no specific mentions, it was apparent that the principal cause was Israel's military response to demonstrations by Palestinians on the border between Israel and Gaza.
The Israeli political class was quick to react. Miri Regev, the Israeli culture and sports minister, has slammed the actor's decision to decline an award given by her home country. He was doubly angered when the BDS or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement praised the actor for her stand. He said that it is unfortunate that Portman has joined those who slam Israel's success and label the country's success as “a tale of darkness.” This was a reference to Portman’s 2015 directorial feature A Tale of Love and Darkness. Portman directed the film based on Amos Oz's autobiographical book.
This is really courageous from Natalie Portman, and given the amount of bile and bullying she'll get over it, everyone should show her support ✊ https://t.co/dXfXKGU9Gk
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) April 23, 2018
Israel's Likud party swiftly condemned her views. Oren Hazan, a member of the Knesset, demanded the government revoke her Israeli citizenship. Rachel Azaria, a Kulanu party member, said: "the cancellation by Natalie Portman needs to light warning signs." Azaria pointed out Portman speaks for the younger generation of American Jews. Losing their support is not a good option to take for Israel.