Natalie Portman 'Does Not Feel Comfortable Participating' in Israeli Award Ceremony, Cancels Trip

Natalie Portman has pulled out of a major Israeli award ceremony in light of recent events in the country

Natalie Portman has pulled out of a major Israeli award ceremony in light of “recent events” in the country.

The Oscar-winning actress, 36, was announced as the honoree in November by The Genesis Prize Foundation with the Genesis Prize Laureate, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Israel.

In a statement on their website, the foundation said “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel,” adding, “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.”

It continued, “We are very saddened that she has decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons. We 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.”

L.A. Dance Project's Annual Gala - Arrivals
David Livingston/Getty

A rep for Portman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Due to the actress’ decision, the Foundation canceled the award ceremony scheduled for June 28. The Genesis Prize is given to those who are considered an inspiration to the future generation of Jews through their commitment to Jewish values, social justice, tolerance and charity, according to the Foundation’s website.

Portman told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that she disagreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, saying, “I’m very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected.”

She isn’t the only star in recent months to cancel a trip to Israel due to politics. In December 2017, Lorde canceled her shows in Israel after activists told her to reconsider her appearances in an open letter, according to The New York Times.

Related Articles