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Peace would come to the Middle East if more people in the region meditated, four-time Oscar nominee David Lynch said Tuesday, speaking at Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film and Television School.
The comments, which followed a meeting with President Shimon Peres, may be of questionable strategic value in the lead-up to next month's peace summit, but were generally in keeping with the reputation of the offbeat filmmaker, one of the most distinctive - and strangest - to crack the Hollywood elite.
The director of stylish, enigmatic films including Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, Lynch arrived in Israel on Sunday for a five-day visit, during which he'll meet with thousands of film students and movie enthusiasts at the Sam Spiegel School and at the Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv Cinematheques.
A two-time award winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the 61-year-old director has also scheduled meetings with Culture, Science and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadle, and with Education Minister Yuli Tamir.
He'll receive an honorary fellowship during his visit from the Sam Spiegel School, an award that follows his induction earlier this month into France's Legion of Honor.
Lynch will spend his Israel visit promoting his Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, an organization that advocates change through meditation and enlightenment.
A press release about Lynch's visit said the director would offer Israelis "an educational program" for "academic excellence," with the filmmaker arguing in his appearance Monday that meditation lowers stress among students and helps them to learn.
Meditation also has the potential to produce "national invincibility," according to materials about the director's Israel stay, with Lynch declaring that a country of its size "only needs 250 advanced meditators working day by day to bring harmony, peace, happiness and creativity [to the country] and to dissolve this [regional] enmity."
Lynch's audience, which didn't appear entirely convinced by his comments, focused its questions on the director's films and his impressions of Israel.
"I think he has a very, very beautiful soul," Lynch said of the country's president, "and I enjoyed speaking to him, mostly about peace."
Wearing his hair in his signature style, parted on the side and slightly chaotic on top, the director said he'd enjoyed his time in Israel so far and was looking forward to the remainder of his trip.
"I've met bright and shiny people, warm people, people interested in peace," he said. "It's a good feeling."