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Sinead O’Connor cancels concert in Jerusalem after death threats

JERUSALEM, June 17 (JTA) — Irish pop star Sinead O’Connor this week canceled a concert here after receiving death threats. Saturday’s concert was to have closed a four-day festival sponsored by Israeli and Palestinian women’s peace groups. The festival, called “Sharing Jerusalem: Two Capitals for Two States,” became a hot-button issue among some right-wing Israelis, who vow never to give any portion of the capital to the Palestinians. Concert organizers said O’Connor canceled after death threats were phoned in to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv. They would not say who was behind the threats. One extreme right-wing activist, while not claiming to have issued the threats, told Israel Radio that he and his supporters had succeeded in getting the concert called off. Itamar Ben-Gvir referred to O’Connor as a “singer who preaches and calls for the division of Jerusalem and who spreads gentile culture,” adding that she “has no place in Israel.” “We certainly view the pressure we exerted so she wouldn’t come to Israel as successful,” he told Israel Radio. Ben-Gvir is affiliated with an offshoot of the outlawed Kach movement, which is militantly anti-Arab. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert said the festival was a “provocation,” adding that poor ticket sales were the cause of the concert’s cancellation. “It appears the people of Israel are smarter and more responsible,” said Olmert. “They simply didn’t buy tickets.” O’Connor, now a Buddhist, once ripped up a picture of the pope during a live televised appearance. In 1995, she attacked two photographers near Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. In a statement, O’Connor said she canceled the show because she wanted to protect herself and her family.