Israel urges Leonard Cohen to add Nazareth gig

Tourism Ministry director-general wants 74-year-old singer to perform at amphitheater built for pope.

Leonard Cohen 1 88 248 (photo credit: )
Leonard Cohen 1 88 248
(photo credit: )
Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar Nir on Tuesday urged internationally renowned artist Leonard Cohen to add another concert to his upcoming trip to Israel, at the Nazareth outdoor amphitheater which was specially built for Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit. Cohen is scheduled to perform at the Ramat Gan Stadium on September 24 in the final stop of his world tour. The concert was promoted under the slogan, "A concert for reconciliation, tolerance and peace." In keeping with this theme, all of the net proceeds from the concert will be earmarked for a newly established fund to benefit Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are working toward conciliation. In a statement released Tuesday, Bar Nir called Nazareth a "commercial, political, communications and cultural center," and opined that a concert in the city would "attract a large and varied audience from all the sectors of Israeli society, as well as tourists, who, together, can listen to moving music, enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds the amphitheater and can realize the concert slogan." The 74-year-old singer was originally scheduled to perform in Ramallah as well as Ramat Gan, but the gig was canceled after pro-Palestinian activists said he was not welcome as long as he insisted on performing in Tel Aviv.