Madonna brought her mix of provocative music and spirituality to the Holy Land with a concert Tuesday in front of 50,000 fans who have endured a 16-year wait since the pop icon's last gig in Israel.
The pop icon wraps up her worldwide Sticky & Sweet tour this week with two concerts in a country with which she claims to share a special bond.
Madonna took the stage about a half hour late Tuesday night, opening with her 2008 single, Candy Shop and moving through a tightly choreographed performance that included a series of colorful costumes - beginning with a skimpy, black body suit with fishnet stockings and knee-high boots - and range of hits, new and old.
"I shouldn't have stayed so long away," she told the adoring crowd midway through the show, as she broke away from the script to express her affection for the country.
"Every time I come here, I get so supercharged with energy," she said. "I truly believe that Israel is the energy center of the world. And I also believe that if we can all live together in harmony in this place, then we can live in peace all over the world."
During a rousing finale of Give it 2 Me, Madonna draped an Israeli flag around herself and paraded around the stage.
Towards the middle of her performance Tuesday, Madonna changed into a short red skirt and leather jacket to sing Get into the Groove. Shortly afterwards, a Michael Jackson impersonator took center stage and was cheered by Madonna and the team of dancers.
The 51-year-old entertainer claims a special bond with Israel.
Madonna last performed in Israel in 1993 but came on private pilgrimages in 2004 and 2007 along with other Kabbalah devotees.She's been dabbling in Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, for more than a decade and has taken on a Hebrew name, Esther.
Madonna's first performance on Tuesday in Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park is taking place in front of more than 50,000 people.
Israeli radio stations played Madonna songs through the day on Tuesday. On Israel's Army Radio, a DJ interrupted a song briefly to quip that tonight, Aunt Esther is playing at Hayarkon Park.
Late Monday, the pop diva dined with Israel's parliamentary opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, at Madonna's request, Livni spokesman Gil Messing said.
Livni was very impressed with Madonna and found her to be a very interesting person, said Messing, adding that the two decided to keep the content of their conversation private. Livni plans to attend one of Madonna's concerts, he said.
Madonna is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence on Friday.
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