(JTA) – For the second time, former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno will emcee the Genesis Prize award ceremony in Israel. Actor Michael Douglas will receive what is billed as “the Jewish Nobel Prize” on June 18. Leno hosted the inaugural ceremony last year, when former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg received the $1 million prize. The comic told The Associated Press on Monday that he was pleased to be invited back and described himself as a big supporter of Israel. “It seems like they [Israel] have the worst PR in the world,” Leno said. “I don’t understand how Israel is the bad guy here. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Douglas has said he will donate the $1 million award to causes that promote greater inclusiveness in the Jewish community, the Genesis Prize Foundation said. “Michael Douglas has chosen to invest the prize award into initiatives which will resonate with Jews like himself – those who come from parents of mixed heritage who wish to be part of the Jewish community,” Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the foundation, said in a news release.
Douglas, the son of famed actor Kirk Douglas, identifies as Jewish. His mother is not Jewish.