Paul McCartney Confirms Concert in Israel

Singer Paul McCartney will perform in Israel at the end of September, almost half a century after his former band The Beatles were blocked from performing there.

Israeli media have been debating the reason for the cancellation, 43 years ago, and opinions range from the fantastical to the mundane:

Paul McCartney is set to play his first concert in Israel, 43 years after Israel blocked a concert by the Beatles for fear the band would corrupt Israeli youth.

McCartney confirmed Wednesday that he would play in Tel Aviv on Sept. 25, promising to give Israelis “the night they have been waiting decades for.

“I’ve heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another,” he said in a statement. “We are planning to have a great time and a great evening.”

McCartney’s visit is as hotly anticipated in Israel as it was in Quebec City, where he played on the Plains of Abraham in July.

The concert confirmation comes a few months after Israel’s ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, wrote a letter to surviving members of the Beatles apologizing for the 1965 cancellation.

“Israel missed a chance to learn from the most influential musicians of the decade, and the Beatles missed an opportunity to reach out to one of the most passionate audiences in the world,” Prosor wrote, extending an invitation to come to Israel.

The exact reason for the cancellation is in dispute this week in the Israeli press.

The people blamed for the cancellation are former education ministry director Yaakov Sarid and then-prime minister David Ben-Gurion, who were said to have feared the teen fervour connected with the Fab Four.

A simpler and more pragmatic explanation of the story suggests that the cancellation was simply the result of a dispute between rival concert promoters.

The real reason for the cancellation was not concern for the morals of Israeli youth, but a bitter feud between rival concert promoters, he said.

Nevertheless, McCartney’s performance will be commemorative, if nothing else, in that it will occur as part of Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

McCartney’s concert will come as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Jewish state.

(I wonder what Palestinian Beatles fans are thinking…)

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