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Israeli President claims Hollywood is a positive influence on American youth.


Israel President Perez speaks to Dreamworks, the studio founded by Katzenburg, Spielberg, and Geffen. Photo from the Hollywood Reporter.

From Hollywood Reporter…

Israeli President Shimon Peres paid a celebratory visit to DreamWork Animation’s Valley studios Friday, where studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg presented him with original art work from the film The Prince of Egypt.

In a short address, Peres reminded the crowd of the contributions the Jewish people had made to Hollywood’s founding, spoke of how today “children believe the actors more than the politicians,” and said that in politics — as opposed to film — “what happens after the happy ending is so demanding and confusing.”

After observing the Jewish Sabbath Saturday, Peres will breakfast Sunday morning with a group of Los Angeles’ Latino and Jewish leaders.

Though this visit is the Israeli head of state’s first to Los Angeles since he began his seven-year presidential term in 2007, Peres actually has a personal tie to Hollywood. Actress Lauren Bacall is his first cousin. Both were born with the family name Persky, though Peres’ parents Hebraized their surname when they immigrated to Palestine and Bacall changed hers when she went on the stage.

From Los Angeles Times…

After Katzenberg introduced the Israeli leader as “a real hero,” Peres spoke for less than 10 minutes, urging “close cooperation between Hollywood and Israel” and reminding the audience that “among the founders of Hollywood there were many Jewish people.”

Peres’ visit to Los Angeles caps a weeklong U.S. tour for the Israeli president that included a private meeting with President Obama and an address at the Israel Political Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, a conversation with Charlie Rose before an audience in New York City and a stop at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Peres’ trip comes at a time when Obama’s policies toward Israel and Iran are in the spotlight and are a source of concern to many Hollywood Democrats.

Katzenberg is arguably Hollywood’s biggest Obama backer and has donated more than $2 million to the president’s “super PAC.”