American pop star Britney Spears arrived in Israel on Sunday and headed straight to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But after she was mobbed by fans at the holy site, she reportedly decided to skip dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and child cancer patients.
At the Western Wall and the Western Wall tunnels, Spears was surrounded by security staff and paparazzi who tried to keep the fans at bay. Afterward, she was unable to make it to a date with Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and pediatric cancer patients from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, the Ynet news site reported.
However, a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office told The Times of Israel that the meeting had never been confirmed.
The dinner went ahead without Spears at the Prime Minster’s Residence in Jerusalem.
The singer is in Israel for a show on Monday in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park as part of her upcoming world tour. Local music producers have been working to bring Spears to Israel since last year, and the performance is set to cost more than $2 million.
The Ynet report said Spears would meet the child cancer patients Monday before her show, which is part of her “Britney: Live In Concert” world tour.
On Saturday Spears tweeted her excitement at her upcoming concert.
I’ve had such an amazing time performing in Asia over these last few weeks!! One final stop in Tel Aviv on Monday!! pic.twitter.com/vd5QfjipMC
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) July 1, 2017
Two weeks ago El Al flight attendants made headlines with a spoof on Spears’ “Toxic” — perhaps inspired by flight attendants on AsiaAir and Thailand’s low-cost Nok Air — local Spears fans are organizing themselves for this long-awaited night.
In order to avoid lengthy traffic jams in and out of the park before and after the concert, local fans have ordered the Britney Bus, a private coach bus organized by the FanZone company that picks up passengers throughout the country, deposits them at the concert and takes them home afterwards.
The concert made headlines in April when the Labor Party announced that it would be postponing its leadership primaries, which had originally coincided with the performance.
Spears shot to international fame in the late 1990s with hits such as “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!…I Did It Again.” She has sold more than 100 million albums and 100 million singles throughout her career.
The pop star joins a star-studded lineup of musical artists and groups performing in Israel over the summer, including Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, Radiohead, Tears for Fears, Rod Stewart, Nick Cave and Guns N’ Roses.
Raphael Ahren and Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report.