Genesis Prize for Portman

Natalie Portman. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

NATALIE Portman has been named the winner of the 2018 Genesis Prize.

The actress joins artist Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas as winners of the $1 million prize, which honors individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement along with their commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people.

“Natalie’s charismatic on-screen presence has touched the hearts of millions,” Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation, said in a statement.

“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.”

Born in Israel, the multi-award winning Hollywood star is a noted social activist in such areas as gender equality, combating poverty, microfinance and animal rights.

Her prize money will go to programs that focus on advancing women’s equality. The funds will be used for grants to organizations involved in promoting women’s educational opportunities, economic advancement, health and safety, and full participation in policy formulation and political activity.

A significant portion of the funds will go to programs advancing women’s equality in Israel, the foundation said in a statement.

Portman, who in the statement said she is “proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage,” will be honoured at a ceremony in Jerusalem in June, 2018.

JTA