Actor, producer and peace advocate Michael Douglas, arrived in Israel with his wife on Monday to travel the Jewish state and eventually accept the $1 million Genesis Prize, the Jewish Nobel Prize, on Thursday at the Jerusalem Theater.
This week, he and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones visited the 187-foot-high Wailing Wall, located on the Western side of the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. It is a major Israeli landmark and prayer site since the 16th century, according to the Daily Mail.
During the last few days, Douglas also met with World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder to discuss anti-Semitism, the BDS movement and the de-legitimizing of Israel.
He revealed to the media recently that his connection to Judaism was rekindled when his son asked for a bar mitzvah, bringing “a lot of spirituality into their household.”
In no time, his son experienced anti-Semitism for the first time on a family vacation, when he was harassed by a man for wearing the Star of David.
Speaking to US TV network NBC, Douglas said: “I went down to the pool to ask this man what the problem was and he went off about there being too many people in the world, there’s got to be regulations and obviously, it came from that.”
Douglas may even face some discrimination himself once awarded the Genesis prize, considering he is Jewish on his father’s side and was not raised in Judaism, but rather embraced it later. Traditionally, the mother’s side is what determines if someone is Jewish.
The celebrity has said he plans to use the prize money “toward promoting activities designed to raise awareness of inclusiveness and diversity in Judaism. I share this award with my family, who encouraged me in my exploration of the Jewish faith. I hope these teachings and values will be part of the legacy in the world that I leave for my children and those who follow.”
The prize will be presented by comedian Jay Leno, along with supermodel and actress Bar Refaeli, adding to Douglas’ two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, and Emmy Award. Philanthropist, entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously received the inaugural award.
The Genesis Prize is awarded annually by the Genesis Prize Foundation, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, to individuals who have accomplished major life achievements, and are advocates for the Jewish community and Israel, according to Israel National News.