(JTA) — The crowd of 60,000 Israelis assembled for the first of pop star Bruno Mars’ sold-out two-night stand in Tel Aviv got a local treat courtesy of Mars’ keyboardist: a performance of a classic Israeli children’s Sukkot song.
Video from the concert showed attendees singing along to “Shlomit Bona Sukkah” (“Shlomit Builds a Sukkah”). The song which describes a girl building a temporary structure for the holiday of Sukkot, underway now, and finding that her “sukkah of peace” can hold all of her neighbors.
The song was written by Naomi Shemer in 1971, and took on new significance after the Yom Kippur War because of its message of peace.
Its performance in Tel Aviv, by keyboardist Jon Fossit, comes as the country again is on edge, with some who fought in the Yom Kippur War saying they see echoes in the current crisis over the right-wing government’s efforts to weaken the judiciary.
The Bruno Mars concerts have been a rallying point for Israelis who are attuned to the decisions of some performers to skip the country, sometimes in protest of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. According to a Times of Israel report, Mars, who has one Jewish grandparent, also shouted out the city several times, including by altering the lyrics of his hit song “Marry You,” and said “I love you” to the crowd in Hebrew.