President Shimon Peres met with '90s pop star and former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul Tuesday morning.
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Abdul, who was raised Jewish, is visiting Israel to celebrate her bat mitzvah at the Western Wall.
Paula Abdul, a special guest of the Tourism Ministry, says being in Israel is a dream come true. "From age 17 I have been working, and haven't taken a vacation for 8 years. I knew when I had the chance I would come to Israel and see it like a regular tourist. Today I am fulfilling the dream and am very excited to be in Israel. I only landed yesterday and I already feel I won't want to leave."
Abdul met with Peres at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, where he told her how happy Israel is to host her and gave her a bottle of olive oil pressed from olive trees at the residence.
“I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude to be here, I’ve wanted to come for years. My career took me many places and this is my first vacation in almost eight years that I’m actually here to sightsee like a regular tourist. My family was here and they were crying, overwhelmed with joy that I’m here,” Abdul told Peres, his office said in a statement.
“I am sure that wherever you go you will feel the warmth and love of the people of Israel, you will feel at home here,” Peres told Abdul.
She responded: “Everyone told me you’re so sababa and it’s true.” Sababa is an Israeli expression equivalent to awesome.
Abdul is scheduled to visit other sides in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Galilee.