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Genesis Prize cancels ceremony after 2018 winner Natalie Portman said she won't visit Israel PDF Print E-mail
Apr 21, 2018 at 02:05 PM

April 19, 2018

Josefin Dolsten

This is a developing story.

(JTA) - The Genesis Prize announced it was canceling its prize ceremony in Israel in June after 2018 recipient Natalie Portman said she would not take part in light of 'recent events'.

On Thursday, the Genesis Prize Foundation, which awards what it calls the 'Jewish Nobel', said it was 'very saddened' that the Israeli-American actress would not take part in the ceremony. The foundation said that Portman's representative notified it that '[r]ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel' and that 'she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.'

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.'

Portman did not specify which events caused her distress, although the United Nations and the European Union recently called for investigations into the use of live ammunition by Israel's military following clashes along the border with Gaza that have left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded. Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence on Thursday.

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Israeli court: American protester Rachel Corrie's death an accident

Haifa, Israel (CNN) -- Nine years after an American activist was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer, an Israeli civil court ruled Tuesday that Rachel Corrie's death was an accident.

Corrie, 23, was killed in 2003 while trying to block the bulldozer from razing Palestinian homes.

Her parents filed suit against Israel's Ministry of Defense in a quest for accountability and sought just $1 in damages. But Judge Oded Gershon ruled Tuesday that the family has no right to damages, backing an earlier Israeli investigation that cleared any soldier of wrongdoing.

"I believe this was a bad day not only for our family, but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel," her mother, Cindy Corrie, said after the verdict.\

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