Natalie Portman snubs 'Jewish Nobel' in apparent protest against Israel

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Born in Jerusalem to a doctor father and an artist mother, 36-year-old Portman proudly brandishes her Israeli background.

Israeli officials have denounced actress Natalie Portman over her decision not to attend an awards ceremony in Israel over "recent events" in the country that she said were "distressing".

Portman has been a strong supporter of Israel and rejects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. "Let me speak for myself", Portman wrote on Instagram on Friday.

Some praise her move as a courageous act. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance.

Israel has drawn global criticism in recent weeks for lethal tactics used during clashes with Palestinians along the border with Gaza. Apart from venting their anger over Portman's decision, many also took offense with the timing, because it comes just days after Israel celebrated the 70th Independence Day. Peace activists, including the United States-based Jewish Voices for Peace thanked the actress for taking a stance. Her success is a great source of pride for many Israelis.

She said she did "not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel" and "cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony". Israeli snipers have killed dozens of unarmed Palestinian protesters so far.

Israel says it is defending its border and accuses Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel's destruction, of trying to carry out attacks under the guise of protests.

Minister of strategic affairs Gilad Erdan invited the Israeli-American actress to go to the Gaza border to satisfy households there, claiming the media "had distorted the reality".

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"We extend our apologies to everyone who has been affected by this decision, particularly to the hundreds of worldwide guests who made plans to fly to Jerusalem to honor Ms. Portman and celebrate the contribution of Jewish women to humanity, the main theme of this year's ceremony".

"The cancellation by Natalie Portman needs to light warning signs", Azaria said in a statement.

"She's totally one of us, identifies with her Jewishness and Israeliness". "She's speaking for many in US Jewry, especially the young generation..." The Prize operates as a partnership among The Genesis Prize Foundation, the Prime Minister's Office of the State of Israel, and The Office of the Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). "Losing them might be too high a price".

This is not the first-time Portman has spoken out with regard to Israel.

Following her announcement that she was no longer attending the event, the Genesis Foundation expressed that they were "very saddened" over her decision and that they would cancel the June 28 ceremony. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. She pledged to announce those grants soon.

LOS ANGELES-The actress has pulled out of the Genesis Prize ceremony over violence in the nation.

Held yearly in Jerusalem, actor Michael Douglas, sculptor Anish Kapoor and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have all obtained the award since 2014.