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Michael Jackson in Israel

By Ben Bresky
6/29/2009, 12:00 AM

Michael Jackson performed in Israel in 1993 during his Dangerous tour to over 70,000 fans in Tel Aviv. He also visited holy sites including the Western Wall. The following is a newscast from CNN about Jackson's visit. It's funny to me that at the end, the newscaster mentions that Madonna may visit Israel in the future. Since that broadcast, Madonna has since visited Israel on numerous occations for both perfomances and private visits. If you search YouTube and other video sits you can find several other clips of Michael Jackson's Tel Aviv performance.

Chris Cornell, lead singer of the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave performed in Israel in June 2009. He performed his very different version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.

In 1996 Michael Jackson release They Don't Care About Us from his HIStory album. It included the lyrics: "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me." Michael Jackson stated the lyrics were meant to rally against prejudice and anti-Semitism. They lyrics have been edited out of most official versions, but can still be found on YouTube and other video sites. For details of the song controversy see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Don't_Care_About_Us

In 2005 Michael Jackson lived in the Middle Eastern Arab - Muslim country of Bahrain. He allegedly was interested in converting to Islam. http://nanima.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/michael-jackson-becomes-muslim-and-reverts-back-to-islam/

On a personal note, when I was in middle school our art teacher Mrs. Turman, "the Turmanator" showed us Michael Jackon's Moonwalker. She thought it was artistic. Many of the kids were Michael Jackson fans and excited to see it but I remember thinking it was a little too pop mainstream for my tastes. But I remember one scene being really really cool. I loved the mixing of animation and live actors, expecially when he dances off against the cartoon rabbit in the end.

 

I remember an arguement on the first day of school as to who was a better dancer, MC Hammer or Michael Jackson. I sometimes wonder what equivalent artists Israeli kids argue about. Sarit Hadad verses Eyal Golan? Shlomo Carlebach versues Neshama Carlebach?? I don't know if there is an equivalent, but every week on the Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast, I try and share the latest exciting Israeli musician I've discovered.