Billy Crystal donates to Hebrew University

Billy Crystal with Meg Ryan in 'When Harry Met Sally'

Billy Crystal with Meg Ryan in 'When Harry Met Sally'

When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal has been described as “a real mensch” after he made a large donation to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The American Jewish actor, 62, has given a “substantial” amount to the institution’s Peace through the Performing Arts programme, which has run projects uniting Israeli and Palestinian students for more than a decade.

Mr Crystal, who has hosted the Oscars ceremony a record eight times, fundraises for homeless charities in America and has also lent his support to the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre Museum of Tolerance.

He was a recipient of the American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU) National Scopus Award in 1999, in honour of his humanitarian work.

Martin E. Karlinsky, president of the AFHU, said he was “dazzled” by the actor’s commitment to human rights.

Mr Karlinsky added: “He takes a deeply imaginative approach to fostering co-existence in the Middle East.

“We are grateful for his creativity, philanthropy and advocacy of these vital programmes.

“Hebrew University shares this commitment to inspiring open dialogue among people in the Middle East through the arts and education.”

Peter Wellner, AFHU national executive director, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Billy has a great appreciation and love for Israel and the Jewish community and a major interest in education. He is a real mensch.”

Last updated: 2:59pm, January 28 2011