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Robert De Niro praises Israel’s aggressiveness

by Jana Banin, JTA

June 20, 2013 | 3:00 pm

Actor Robert De Niro waits for his meeting with Israel's President Shimon Peres at the Peres' residence in Jerusalem June 18. Photo by Sebastian Scheiner/Reuters

Actor Robert De Niro waits for his meeting with Israel's President Shimon Peres at the Peres' residence in Jerusalem June 18. Photo by Sebastian Scheiner/Reuters

While the A-list celeb turnout at Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday party was decent, it was also vaguely odd. Yeshiva-educated “Yentl” star Barbra Streisand was a natural fit, as was Bill Clinton. But Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro, not so much.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s cool of these big-name stars to travel across the world for a leader they obviously like and respect. It just seemed to come out of nowhere.

That said, while De Niro’s visit itself was sort of surprising, his comments at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday were exactly what you’d think the actor known for his tough-guy roles in films like “Taxi Driver” and “The Godfather Part II” would say.

“I always enjoy coming to Israel. Israelis are warm, they’re energetic people. Forthright. Very smart. I always like smart people. They’re nice people, you know. Aggressive, and I respect that aggressiveness because you need it in their situation,” De Niro said, according to The Times of Israel.

OK, now it’s sort of making sense. But if anyone has any ideas about the Stone connection, feel free to share.

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