Madonna, the PM, the Holy Ari and the Palestinian quality of life

Posted: September 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: culture, media | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

madonnaI’ve written her before about the blunt support of the free paper Israel Hayom for PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel Hayom is owned by gambling billionaire and personal friend of Netanyahu, Sheldon Adelson. Having past both Maariv and Haaretz in circulation, it is now the second largest daily in Israel, read by more than 25 percent of Jewish paper readers.

We have seen some strange items in Israel Hayom, but nothing until now came even close to this:

On today’s back page of the paper, instead of the usual gossip column, was the following article (signed by political correspondent Shlomo Tzezna), describing a Friday evening’s meeting between PM Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife and pop singer Madonna, whose visit and shows in Israel last week caused something close to mass hysteria.

The text is so funny I bring it here in full version. The Hebrew original follows, as some of the better subtleties just get lost in my translation:

After two successful shows in Park Hayarkon (Tel Aviv) which ended her current world tour, Madonna saved the remaining weekend in Israel for spiritual activity and a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah.

On the night between Thursday and Friday, Madonna’s helicopter landed in Ziv hospital in [the town of] Zfat. Haim Azulay, the PR man from Zfat who escorted Madonna through her visit, has told us that “the bodyguards waited her and she and her partner Jesus boarded the bullet proof car which took her to the new cemetery in Zfat.

“Over there, Madonna got off the vehicle and walked on foot towards the grave of the holy Ari [Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, a well known Jewish mystic]. When the entourage arrived at the grave, Madonna wrapped a red scarf around her and her partner, and sang the Mizmor [traditional Jewish song] “Lecha Dodi” in an ancient melody that touched the feelings of all the people present there,” said Azulay.

The next day, on Friday afternoon, the singer arrived at the official resident of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, escorted by her personal manager, Guy Azury. After exchanging courtesies and a formal introduction, in which Madonna has received compliments on the successful shows she gave in Israel, Sarah Netanyahu and Madonna lit up the Shabbat candles and said the blessings together.

Madonna sang the blessing, and some close associate who were gathered outside the door said the atmosphere inside was especially warm and cordial.

In the friendly conversation that followed Netanyahu didn’t forget to mention the change that has already taken place in Israel’s handling of the Palestinians.

The Prime Minister spoke of the easing of the Palestinians life, the growing Palestinians economy, and the nightclubs that are being opened in Ramallah and in Nablus, and about the improvement in the quality of life of the Palestinians. Finally, Sarah and Benjamin Netanyahu took their picture with Madonna and her manager, and said goodbye.

And here is the original: Read the rest of this entry »