As safe as Apple
Major Michael Bloomberg yesterday took no offense and even praised Madonna‘s stratling clain that Israel is no more dangerous than New York.
“We’re glad she realizes what the mayor already knows, as evidence by his four trips to Israel over the past few years – that Israel is an incredibly inspiring and safe place to visit” said City Hall spokeswoman Jennifer Falk. “We hope tourists fom all over the globe will follow her lead”.
Bloomberg was responding to the pop singer and kabbalah devotee’s comments, as she wrapped up a five day visit to the Holy Land.
Madonna, wearing a gree and white patterned dress, said she was hesitant to come to Israel “after seeing so many news reports about terror atacks”. “I realize now that it is no more dangerous to be here than is it to be in New York”, she told at a gathering at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, where she had been staying.
She said the only “danger” she encountered in Israel were the “naughty paparazzi” outside her hotel, referring to an earlier scuffle with photographers outside her hotel that led to the arrest of two of hr bodyguards. Two lensmen and a cop were injured in the fracas.
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The Catholic-born superstar who has adopted the Hebrew name Esther, admitted she waited 10 years to return to Israel because of terrorist attacks. But she said once she as there, “I feel very safe and very welcome”. Madonna arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and for the first three days, spent much of her time in makeshift synagogue hosting more than 2,000 kabbalah students and followers from 23 countries, most of them Americans.
Speaking at a gala dinner Sunday, Madonna said she came to Israel not to represent any religion, “but as a student of kabbalah”, a form of Jewish mysticism. The event was held to raise money for her latest charity, Spirituality for Kids, promoting friendship between Jewish and Arab children. A chorus of Jewish and Arab children sang, but Madonna did not.
Israeli Tourism Minister Gideon Esra said Madonna’s visit was better than any advertising campaign to attract visitors.
“If she comes here and goes back, and was happy with her visit, it means for a lot of people who were afraid to come here that they can come here without any problem”, Ezra said.
Article by Uri Dan and Tom Touposis, The New York Post.