Madonna and Israel have come a long way.
Before her "MDNA" World tour kicks off in Ramat Gan Stadium, a look back at her first concert in Tel Aviv.
The pop diva’s 1990 single "Justify My Love" was deemed antisemitic by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. While we haven’t found the set list from Madonna’s October 5, 1993 concert in Hayarkon Park, her "Girlie Show" world tour included "Justify" in the lineup.
Whether or not the song made the cut, the material girl was the object of disapproval by the Orthodox community who took exception to "topless dancers as well as the far-from-puritanical gyrations of the star herself."
Meanwhile, former JTA writer Hugh Orgel reported on a pre-concert hullabaloo over Madonna’s hotel arrangements:
She was told that her local manager had ordered 15 rooms and had not mentioned that the star wanted an entire floor to herself. The floor had 48 rooms, but the hotel was fully booked for the holiday season.
According to the hotel manager, Madonna had appeared nervous when she arrived at the hotel and had told him she was afraid to be surrounded by other guests occupying nearby rooms.
As a result, the international superstar ordered her limousine to return and drive her to the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, where her crew was staying. The two hotels are under the same management.
Madonna’s spiritual pursuits of the last 15 or so years, especially her exploration of kaballah, have led her back to Israel in recent years. Her second concert in Israel came in 2009, and reportedly included Shabbat with Bibi, just two years after post-gaming Rosh Hashanah with Shimon Peres.
Still, Madonna’s 2012 concert has hit some early snags.
The MDNA opener in Tel Aviv was originally called for May 31. Shortly thereafter, the gig was bumped up two days and a "peace concert" was added to the agenda, only to be consolidated with the original date after promoters cited production concerns. All tickets from the cancelled May 29 concert will be honored at the May 31 event.