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Natalie Portman named 'inspiration to Jews' to win $1m Genesis Prize

Oscar-winning actress will use cash to fund causes that 'advance women's equality'

    Natalie Portman in Los Angeles last month
    Natalie Portman in Los Angeles last month AP

    Natalie Portman has been awarded this year’s $1m Genesis Prize for being a role model to “millions of young Jews around the world.”

    The globally-acclaimed actress and director said she was deeply touched and humbled after being announced as the winner of the award, which comes with a $1 million (£760,000) prize fund.

    The Oscar winner said that the money would go to causes which “advance women’s equality”.  

    “I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am,” Portman said. “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.”

    Previous winners of the Genesis Prize, which was launched in 2013, include Michael Bloomberg, Itzhak Perlman  and Anish Kapoor.

    Stan Polovets, co-founder of the award, said that Portman’s “talent, her commitment to social causes and her deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots are greatly admired.”

    He continued: “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.”

    Portman will be given the award at a prize ceremony in Jerusalem next June.

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