The four members of the German pop band Tokyo Hotel will be arriving today with a fifth and unusual member - a member of the diplomatic staff at the Israel Embassy in Berlin. The diplomatic liaison officer will be chaperoning the four 18-year-old teenager pop stars at their own request.
The connection between the band and the embassy was formed after the Israeli embassy contacted Tokyo Hotel to give them a petition signed by thousands of Israeli fans - most of them teenage girls - who requested they come perform. On Friday in Tel Aviv, they will have their wish, for a mere NIS 220 per concert ticket.
The four pop idols - whom local media has already dubbed "the German Beatles" - accepted the invitation immediately. "The they started asking questions about Israel, including security concerns," said embassy spokesman Aharon Sagi. "They requested we send someone from the embassy to accompany them."
Georg Listing, Gustav Schafer and the twins Tom and Bill Kaulitz told the media they were performing at the embassy's request. Sagi, however, prefers to diplomatically distance the embassy from the group. "We were merely the mediators here," he told Haaretz.
Many fans, it would seem, discovered the band online long before their songs had reached the charts. "We started receiving E-mails about this band about 18 months ago," Michal Regulant, deputy editor for the teen magazine Rosh-1, recalls. "The fans, mostly girls, told us they were German and wanted us to write about them. We ended up running them on the cover. To the best of my knowledge, that was the first time an Israeli magazine ran a picture of a German band on the front cover."
To bridge the language barrier, says 14-year-old fan Sapir Shovali, some devout fans have started learning German to enjoy the full spectrum of the band's lyrics. Others resort to online dictionaries to decipher the band's "message," as Shovali puts it.
As for the historical burdens between Germans and Israelis, "History does not fit into the picture as far as our fans are concerned," Tom Kaulitz told the German daily Berliner Zeitung.
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