Natalie Portman refuses to attend Israeli award ceremony due to 'recent events'

Rodrigo Reyes Marin  AFLO via ZUMA Press

The Genesis Foundation did not indicate whether Portman would still receive the prize money in light of her announcement.

Israel has drawn worldwide criticism in recent weeks for lethal tactics used during clashes with Palestinians along the border with Gaza. She joined artist Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas as victor of the $1 million prize, which "honors individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement along with their commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people".

The actor's decision comes after global criticism over lethal tactics used by Israel during clashes with unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

Actress Natalie Portman has announced she's boycotting all public affairs from Israel, also won't attend the June awards ceremony of the so-called "Jewish Nobel" trophy there in spite of successful the honour, the Genesis Prize Foundation said Thursday.

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

Hollywood actor Natalie Portman has refused to attend a ceremony in Israel to accept a million-dollar prize because of "recent events" in the country, the organisers said, announcing the prize-giving had been cancelled. "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. There have been no Israeli casualties.

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Portman has been vocal about her criticism against Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli soldiers have fired live ammunition at Palestinians taking part in "Land Day" protests.

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". Israel has maintained that its soldiers only fired on those deemed a threat to its troops or the border fence.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

Previous winners of the prize include artist Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas.

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