Natalie Portman Pulls Out of Israel Award Ceremony Over ‘Recent Events’

An awards ceremony in Israel set to honor Natalie Portman has been canceled after the actress pulled out over “recent events” in the country. The Genesis Prize, which recognizes “extraordinary individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews,” announced Portman’s last-minute decision Thursday, saying it was left with “no choice” but to cancel the entire ceremony in June. Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, said when she was announced as the winner of the 2018 Genesis Prize in November that she was “proud” of her Israeli roots. On Thursday, however, a rep for Portman reportedly notified the Genesis Prize 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.” Portman “cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony,” the foundation quoted her rep as saying. The Israeli government faces mounting international scrutiny over its handling of demonstrations along the Gaza border in which dozens of Palestinians were killed.