After dialing Avihay Asseraf’s cell phone number, a “funtone” version of Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Love” greets the waiting caller.

“People don’t appreciate the meaning that someone like Madonna is doing her opening night here. It’s the premiere of a tour,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday over the phone. “It’s a piece of history.”

Earlier that day, American pop icon Madonna landed in Israel, where she is launching her 2012 world MDNA Tour in Israel, kicking off at Ramat Aviv Stadium on Thursday, May 31 – rescheduled from May 29. Her publicist had told the Post the day before that Madonna is “extremely excited to be opening her tour in Israel.”

Asseraf created what he labeled as Israel’s “official” Madonna Facebook fan page in July 2011, called “Madonna Israel” in both Hebrew and English. As of noontime Thursday, his page had 650 likes. Featuring all the latest Madonna news, the page is so up-to-date that late Wednesday night, the night before Madonna’s arrival, it featured a photo of Madonna boarding a plane in New York.

Scrolling down to the bottom of Asseraf’s fan page history, the first posts on the site include pictures from the artist’s Tel Aviv stop in her 2009 Sticky & Sweet Tour, as well as a poster from her Israel appearance in 1993.

Asseraf, who is a teacher for children with disabilities in Hadera, has purchased a “golden ticket” to the concert at NIS 1,500, the ticket that gets him closest to the stage. Previously, he attended Madonna performances in Israel in 2009, in Greece in 2008, in Paris in 2006 and in London in 2004.

His fondness of the star, however, stems back to 1997, when he went to see the movie Evita in theaters – in which Madonna played the title character.

From there, he tried out her Ray of Light album and watched her music videos on MTV.

“And I fell in love,” he said, noting that he has collected retro Madonna items ever since. “I collect everything that comes from Madonna.”

On Asseraf’s own personal Facebook profile page, the “cover” photo stretching over his timeline is an image promoting the MDNA Tour. In addition to various pictorial tributes to Madonna and her albums all over his timeline wall, Asseraf also displays his “Titanic collection” – pictures featuring various Titanic DVDs and Celine Dion music.

“Titanic is my second obsession,” he said. “[Madonna] reminded me a lot of Kate Winslett – how she looks in Titanic.”

Asseraf said he has actually become friends with many of his fellow fans from his page, and that they have gotten together in the past for events like watching the Superbowl.

Many of them have “golden tickets” for the concert and intend to gather beforehand.

“For a fan like me to see a premiere of a tour, I can’t explain the feeling,” he said. “She’s the best and no one even comes close to her, not even Lady Gaga.”

Perhaps the most numerically popular Israeli Facebook page dedicated to Madonna, with 2,953 likes, is one created in May 2010, called, in Hebrew, “Madonna is the sexiest singer in the world nude!!! Viewing is required!!!” The page, however, lacks any public contact information.

Another simple page called “Madonna” in Hebrew had 571 likes, but contains no public wall for user commentary.

One fan site that appears to be equally active to that of Asseraf is called, in Hebrew, “Bibi no! To war with Iran only after the performance of Madonna on 5.29” had 981 likes. Administrated by Kobi Zvili, a 28-year-old fine arts student at Bezalel, the page was launched in February and features a picture of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Madonna as the profile picture, in front of an image of Madonna bridging together the flags of Israel and Iran as the cover art.

One of the latest wall posts on the site reads, “10 days to go!!! still no war,” with a smiley face emoticon.

Returning to the owner of the “official” fan page, Asseraf said that he would love to meet Madonna at some point but is not getting his hopes up anytime soon. Meanwhile, he assured the Post that not only is his funtone on his phone dedicated to Madonna, but his ringtone is as well. His ringtone is a song from her new album, called Love Spent.

“It’s what we do – since we have known Madonna, we have spent our money on her,” Asseraf said. “We spend our love and we end up with no money.”

Jerusalem Post reporters will be tweeting live from the concert - follow our Twitter account for updates, photos and videos.


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