Dame Helen Mirren to host 'Jewish Nobel' ceremony in Jerusalem


Dame Helen Mirren has said she is "honoured and humbled" to be hosting the award ceremony of Israel's Genesis Prize.

The Oscar-winner will be presiding over the event which will see the $1 million (£712,000) prize, known as "the Jewish Nobel", given to Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for the disabled.

Dame Helen said in a statement: "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."

Stan Polovets, the co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation, said: "Dame Mirren has been an outspoken supporter of Israel, and we look forward to the elegance and grace she will bring to the ceremony."

The foundation said Dame Helen, who is not Jewish, has visited Israel several times, including a stint as a volunteer on a kibbutz, or collective farm, in 1967. She also has been a vocal critic of pro-Palestinian activists who have called for a cultural boycott of Israel.

She played the role of a former Mossad agent in The Debt, and in Woman In Gold she played an elderly Jewish refugee who fought the Austrian government for a decade to reclaim an iconic Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis.

Helen Mirren attends the Baftas in 2013 with her hair dyed pink
Dame Helen Mirren (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Perlman is the third recipient of the Genesis Prize, which is to be presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 23.

Actor Michael Douglas was last year's winner, and Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor, won the inaugural prize. Former late-night talk show host Jay Leno hosted the first two award ceremonies.