Who was the cheapest Beatle

A Beatle in Israel

Paul McCartney will perform in Israel on Thursday evening (Photo: www.friendshipfirst.co.il)

On Thursday evening, the "greatest event" in the history of the 60-year-old state of Israel will take place in Tel Aviv's Jarkon Park. More Israelis will come when members of the Kadima party recently voted to succeed the slain Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The cheapest standing room costs only 100 euros. Wealthy Israelis can buy a seat in a grandstand for ten times the price. A red carpet has been laid out for them, right down to the cheap unpadded plastic armchairs.

"Very close", only seventy meters away, you will be able to enjoy Sir Paul McCartney on a stage that has never been seen in Israel, with ten meter high screens and other bells and whistles, the more than a hundred technicians who came from London have set up for days. The super-luxurious celebrity tent was flown in from South Africa.


Belated Beatle mania


With a delay of 44 years, the Beatle mania broke out in Israel. Because when the four "mushroom heads" at the height of their careers around the world made little girls swoon from ecstasy with classics like "Love me do" or "Help", their appearance in Israel was canceled at short notice. The education minister, so the legend goes, feared "bad influence" on the youth, who at that time were still strictly ideological and a little bit Stalinist. But now the aging "Sir Paul", born in 1942, is warmly welcome and will trigger storms of enthusiasm of nostalgia in the gray-haired generation that still feels as young today as it did at the end of the sixties.


PR officers rub their hands. Because the celebrating Tel Aviv should determine Israel's future reputation in the world, instead of the images of war and conflict or even of the stone Jerusalem with its excesses of medieval piety. The media noted with satisfaction that Paul McCartney has rejected all calls for boycott by peace activists and peace-loving Palestinian organizations. They saw his appearance in Tel Aviv as a significant disruption to their efforts to resolve strife. Indeed, the Tel Aviv concert will literally drop another PR drive. Because on Thursday peace activists wanted to start again in a fishing boat from Cyprus under the motto "Liberate Gaza" in order to break through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. This time MPs, doctors and a Nobel Prize winner from Ireland are on board to make the trapped Palestinians happy with medicines, even though dozens of trucks every day transport medicines, school books, animal feed and tons of pebbles to the Gaza Strip through the border crossings that have long since reopened.


McCartney is allowed to cross red lights


On Tuesday night Sir Paul McCartney actually landed in Israel with his private plane and his partner, the millionaire heiress Nancy Shevell. Chased by paparazzi and fans begging for his signature on old records, the British state guest first visited Jaffa and then drove on to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. "The police accompanied him on all his journeys and even let him pass red lights," complained a suspended press photographer, "because we have to stop at the red lights and then lose sight of the official motorcade." An extensive discussion was started on the radio as to why this singer was "given the honor" of passing red lights with police approval. In Bethlehem, where Paul McCartney only met a few fans in front of the Church of the Nativity, Sir Paul even made a politically relevant statement. According to the title of his classic hit "All we need is love", he said: "All we need is peace".


Even business matters were taken care of in a timely and contractual manner. Exactly half an hour before his memorable appearance in Jarkon Park, the agreed fee is transferred from an escrow account to the account of the millionaire Beatle. Because artists have already had bad experiences in Israel. Elton John once gave a concert. After he sang, the Israeli executives went into hiding with the promised fee.


By Thursday morning only about 38,000 of the 50,000 tickets had been sold. A railroad spokesman apologized for not having provided enough wagons "on the fly" to bring the fans home after the concert that had been announced for months. According to the schedule, the last train will leave at 9:15 p.m., while the concert should last until the late evening hours. The concert guests will have to arrive by car and Tel Aviv will be clogged. Organizational talent has never been an Israeli strength, even when it comes to "historic events".

By: Ulrich W. Sahm (Jerusalem)