In an apparent feeling of distress resulting from the shooting deaths of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli troops at the Gaza border in recent weeks, Natalie Portman -- an American Oscar-winning Jewish actress born in Israel -- has snubbed a prestigious prize known as "Jewish Nobel," saying she did not want her attendance to be seen as an endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the ABC News website reports today (April 21, 2018).
Portman was to have received the award in Israel in June and said in a statement issued today that her reasons for skipping the ceremony had been mischaracterized by others, and she is not part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a Palestinian-led global movement against Israel.
Portman through a representative had told the Genesis Prize Foundation she was experiencing "extreme distress" over attending its ceremony and would "not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel."
Several Israeli public officials have expressed disappointment with Portman's decision to stay away from Israel. Rachel Azaria, a lawmaker from the centrist Kulanu party, warned that Portman's decision to stay away is a sign of "eroding support" for Israel among young American Jews, many of whom do not have a feeling of loyalty toward Israel.