Dame Helen Mirren to host ‘Jewish Nobel prize’ ceremony in Jerusalem


Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren is set to host Israel’s Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem this year, it has been announced.

Dame Helen said she was “honoured and humbled” at being asked to preside at the event – regarded as the “Jewish Nobel prize”.

She said: "My connection to Israel and the Jewish people has truly been a part of making me what I am today, and I am very excited to be returning to this great country.”

Dame Helen, who is not Jewish, has visited Israel several times since she volunteered on a kibbutz in 1967.

She has campaigned against anti-Israel activists who call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli artists and performers.

She has played the role of Jewish characters in her career, including an ex-Mossad agent in The Debt and an elderly Jewish woman who calls for the return of heirlooms that were seized by the Nazis in Woman in Gold.

Genesis Prize Foundation Chairman Stan Polovets hailed Dame Helen as “an outspoken support of Israel”.

He added: “We look forward to the elegance and grace she will bring to the ceremony.”

At the event on June 23, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present the award to Israeli American violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Mr Perlman was honoured with the $1million prize for his work in music and with people affected by disabilities.

Actor Michael Douglas and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg are former winners of the prize, which is now in its third year.

The foundation was established in 2014 and is co-run by the Israeli prime minister’s office and the Jewish Agency.

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