Paul McCartney plays Tel Aviv 43 years after being banned
Paul McCartney performed his first ever concert in Israel yesterday – 43 years after The Beatles were banned from playing in the country.
The veteran rocker kicked off with the familiar Beatles song ‘Hello Goodbye’ to the delight of the 40,000 fans who turned out for his outdoor performance in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park.
McCartney, who has encountered criticism for agreeing to the concert and not playing to the Palestinians, said he was on a mission of peace for Israel and the Palestinians.
‘I get criticised everywhere I go, but I don’t listen to them,’ he said during a visit to Bethlehem ahead of the show. ‘I’m bringing a message of peace, and I think that’s what the region needs.’
The set covered a range of songs from his Beatles days to his later solo career.
Singing ‘Give Peace a Chance’ – which he dedicated to his fellow Beatle John Lennon, who was murdered in New York in 1980 – he stopped and let the audience sing the chorus alone.
He told the crowd: ‘Here tonight you sang it, you want it.’
The Beatles had been scheduled to perform in 1965 – but an Israeli official apparently called off the concert for fear it would corrupt the nation’s youth.