The throngs of tween girls who mobbed Justin Beiber upon his arrival in Israel on Monday aren't alone. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently has a hankering for the Canadian pop idol as well.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will host Bieber at his office on Wednesday evening. Netanyahu's office said the young singer and his manager were the ones who had asked for the meeting and the prime minister consented.
Some 200 young fans thronged Tel Aviv's Sheraton Hotel Monday morning, staying there for hours in the hope of catching sight of the phenom. Bieber is scheduled to give a concert in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
Taking advantage of the PR opportunity presented by the meeting with Bieber, Netanyahu's advisers invited a group of children from communities near the Gaza border to attend. The children had disembarked from a school bus just before it was hit by a Hamas rocket last Thursday, critically wounded a teen and moderately wounding the bus driver.
Netanyahu's advisers hope Bieber can help raise the West's awareness of the ongoing missile fire from Gaza.
"We arrived especially on a flight from Eilat," said Yaakov Melamed, father of a 12-year old girl - one of about 200 groupies in the hotel's lobby on Monday. "We are following him everywhere," said Adi, 14, from Ganei Tikva. "I will go with him to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and I've been waiting here since eight in the morning," she said.
The noise and commotion by the fans hit such a level that the Sheraton staff, caught unaware by the "Bieber fever," set up blocks at the entrance and posted staff members to inspect anyone coming in.
"We explained the situation to anyone who complained," said Anat Shilon, the hotel's marketing director. "Guests leaving the hotel are taking photographs of the girls - they see it as an attraction, despite the noise."