“See, Hashem has proclaimed To the end of the earth: Announce to Fair Tzion, Your Deliverer is coming! See, his reward is with Him, His recompense before Him.” Isaiah 62:11 (The Israel Bible™)
Israeli-born American actress, director and social activist Natalie Portman was named Tuesday as the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate. The annual $1 million award, known as the ‘Jewish Nobel’, honors “extraordinary individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement, commitment to Jewish values and to the Jewish people.”
“We are delighted to celebrate Natalie Portman as the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder, and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “Natalie’s charismatic on-screen presence has touched the hearts of millions. Her talent, her commitment to social causes and her deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots are greatly admired.
“She exemplifies the core traits of the Jewish character and values of the Jewish people – persistence and hard work, pursuit of excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a heartfelt desire to contribute to making the world a better place. Without a doubt, she is a role model for millions of young Jews around the world.”
“I am deeply touched and humbled by this honor,” Portman said. “I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am. It is such a privilege to be counted among the outstanding Laureates whom I admire so much. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Prize Foundation, and look forward to using the global platform it provides to make a difference in the lives of women in Israel and beyond.”
Portman is the fifth recipient of the prize since it was first awarded in 2014 to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The other recipients are Actor and peace activist Michael Douglas (2015); violinist and advocate for people with disabilities Itzhak Perlman (2016); and prominent sculptor and activist for the rights of refugees, Sir Anish Kapoor (2017).
Portman left Israel at the age of three when she moved with her parents to Long Island, New York. She began her acting career aged 12 when she starred alongside Jean Reno and Gary Oldman in Luc Besson’s “The Professional”. In 2010 she won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in the movie “Black Swan”. She is also two-time Golden Globe winner, and in 2015, she directed “Tale of Love and Darkness,” a Hebrew-language film made in Israel and based on the novel by an Israeli writer Amos Oz.
The Genesis Prize committee said the $1 million in award money would be granted to philanthropic programs focusing on advancing women’s equality with a significant portion of the funds allocated to programs advancing women’s equality in Israel.
Portman will attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem in June 2018.