Sir Paul McCartney has said that he will not be going to Israel to receive the Wolf Prize for Music.
The Wolf Prize is an Israeli award to living scientists and artists for "achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among people ... irrespective of nationality, race, colour, religion, sex or political views."
The world-renowned musician was awarded the prize in November for being “one of the greatest songwriters of all time.” Sir Paul’s songs, the prize jury noted, “will be sung and savoured as long as there are human beings to lift up their voices.”
However he announced this week that he will not attend the awards ceremony in the Knesset at the end of May, citing his busy schedule.
“It’s very flattering and I am grateful to be this year’s Wolf Prize winner in music,” he said. “It’s certainly a great honour for me to be included among the greatest artists, creators, scientists and writers of today’s history. But after reviewing my schedule I have to announce that I will not be able to arrive at the date set.”
Sir Paul last performed in Israel to 50,000 people in Tel Aviv in 2008.
The Wolf Foundation said that recipients can only receive their award – a $100,000 prize - in person but they may collect it at subsequent award ceremonies.
The Beatles front-man is to share his award for music with conductor Adam Fischer.
The Wolf Prize was founded in 1975 and has been awarded in five areas - four in the sciences and one in the arts - in a fixed rotation.
Last month Natalie Portman declined to attend the Genesis Prize award ceremony in Jerusalem, saying that “recent events in Israel [were] extremely distressing to her and she [did] not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel.”