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June 21, 2013 7:51 pm

Robert De Niro Says He Respects Israelis for Their ‘Aggressiveness’

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Robert De Niro. Photo: David Shankbone. Famed Actor Robert De Niro, known for his toughness and aggressive personality on the big screen, said he appreciates a similar quality in the Israeli people.

“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 June 19 at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reported.

De Niro—who was born to a Catholic father and Presbyterian mother, and whose grandparents had him baptized while he was living with them during his parents’ divorce—has played a number of Catholic roles in his movies, including “The Godfather Part II” and “The Mission” (in which he played a priest). De Niro’s signature toughness is perhaps best portrayed in the famous “You talkin’ to me?” exchange from the movie “Taxi Driver.”

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