Genesis Prize victor Portman pulls out of Israel ceremony

Natalie Portman poses at the premiere for

Natalie Portman poses at the premiere for"Annihilation in Los Angeles California U.S

The 36-year-old Black Swan actress was set to venture to the Middle Eastern country in June to attend a ceremony put on by the Genesis Prize Foundation.

The statement did not say which events had influenced Portman's decision, but Israel most recently drew worldwide condemnation for the deaths of more than 30 Palestinians when Israeli forces used live ammunition along with tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters on the Gaza-Israel border.

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".

After receiving the nomination past year, Portman said she is "proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage".

The Genesis Prize Foundation said it had been informed by Portman's representative 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 that "she can not in good conscience move forward with the ceremony".

The Genesis Prize Foundation says it was informed Portman "does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel".

The foundation said it "admires her humanity, and respects her right to publicly disagree with the policies of the government of Israel".

In response, the foundation issued a press release saying it is disappointed in Portman's refusal to attend the ceremony "for political reasons". There have been no Israeli casualties.

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers, while the European Union and United Nations chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

Calling on Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to cancel Portman's Israeli citizenship, Likud MK Oren Hazan labeled her "an Israeli Jewess who on the one hand makes cynical use of her origins in order to advance her career and who, on the other hand, prides herself on having avoided being drafted into the IDF".

Philanthropist Morris Kahn, left, Genesis Prize Laureate Natalie Portman, center, and Stan Polovets, co-founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

Previous winners of the prestigious prize include media baron and politician Michael Bloomberg, musician Itzhak Perlman and actor Michael Douglas.

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