According to CBS News, US actor Natalie Portman is to snub the "Jewish Nobel" award ceremony, which is due to be held in June. The Genesis Prize Foundation stated that Portman is extremely upset about "recent events in Israel." As a result, she does not feel comfortable taking part. The Jewish-born actor's representative did not specify what events led to this decision. In response, the Genesis Prize Foundation released a statement, saying that it was "very saddened" by the actor's decision.

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The organization stressed that it has worked hard to remain non-political. Previously, the US actor already expressed her political views, voicing her opposition to the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu and distancing herself from an email drive about the Gaza conflict [VIDEO].

What is the 'Jewish Nobel'?

Dubbed the "Jewish Nobel," the prize was launched in 2013 and has since been awarded to actor Michael Douglas, ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sculptor Anish Kapoor, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. The award aims to recognize Jewish contributions and achievements in all areas of life. When Portman was announced as a winner, she stressed that she was "proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage."

However, commentators believe recent "events in Israel" led the actor to cancel her attendance. The Genesis Prize Foundation has since called off the award ceremony, the Hollywood Reporter announced.

Israeli government quick to criticize Portman's decision

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has praised Natalie Portman's conviction, but the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports (Miri Regev) was quick to criticize her decision.

"I was saddened to hear that Natalie Portman has fallen as a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters." On social media, many expressed their outrage in what could be called a social media backlash. 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. However, many people have also expressed their support for the American actor.

'Recent events in Israel'

Although the representative for Natalie Portman did not elaborate on her reasons for snubbing the awards, one only needs to look at what was -- in her statement -- referred to as "recent events in Israel." According to CBS News, 28 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured since the beginning of this month.

Israel has generated a lot of criticism over its handling of Palestinian protests along the Gaza border. To mark the 70th anniversary of their mass exodus, hundreds of Palestinians, among them women and children, gathered along the border for a peaceful sit-in. However, peaceful protests turned violent on many occasions.