Pop diva Madonna landed in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon ahead of her world tour which kicks off here next week.
The Material Girl’s motorcade entered the Tel Aviv Dan hotel parking lot Friday as guards shielded the superstar from the media.
Madonna isn’t Jewish, but she has adopted the Hebrew name of Esther and studies Jewish mysticism. She is known here as “Queen Esther”; after her arrival, Israeli media outlets announced that “the Queen has arrived.”
The mega-diva will spend nine days in Israel, which she was quoted Thursday as calling “the center of world energy.”
“If there is peace in Israel, there will be peace in the world,” the pop queen said, according to the Hebrew daily Maariv.
Madonna, who has for many years explored kabbalah Jewish mysticism, adopted the named Esther in 2004, and at one point was reportedly interested in purchasing a home near the kabbalistic city of Safed, will spend the first days of her visit in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and will reportedly gather a minyan — prayer quorum — for Sabbath prayers. She will spent the Sunday Shavuot holiday at the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv. On Tuesday, she is set to participate — with 800 others — in a Tel Aviv kabbalah seminar given by Eitan Yardeni, her kabbalah teacher, who is accompanying her on the visit, as are her three children.
After visiting the Western Wall, the adjacent underground tunnels and other holy sites in the two large cities, she plans to head north and visit burial sites of kabbalistic significance, including that of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai — whom legend states authored the Zohar, the ancient basic kabbalistic text.
Madonna will end her visit with a performance at Israel’s national soccer stadium in Ramat Gan on May 31, where tens of thousands are hoping to get an up-close glimpse of the queen.
The former “Material Girl” has, in recent years, been described as Sabbath-observant and her diet reportedly excludes non-kosher foods. The published dates on her world tour, which runs to November, include no Friday night performances.