Madonna invites her Israeli warm-up act to open concert in Istanbul

A week after urging peace at Ramat Gan show, star asks Tel Aviv-based DJ Offer Nissim to play her tour stop in hostile Turkey

Pop icon Madonna performs at the Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv on May 31, 2012. (photo credit: Ariel Schalit/AP)
Pop icon Madonna performs at the Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv on May 31, 2012. (photo credit: Ariel Schalit/AP)

A week after launching her latest world tour in Tel Aviv, Madonna has enlisted the show’s Israeli warmup act to open her concert in Turkey.

The kabbala-loving “Girl Gone Wild” reached out to DJ Offer Nissim late on Wednesday night, asking the Tel Aviv-based performer to open her Thursday show in Istanbul. Despite the last-minute notice, the Israeli DJ accepted the offer, and is set to kick off the singer’s concert at the Turk Telecom Arena.

The high-profile invitation is the latest coup for Nissim, a veteran of Tel Aviv’s club scene who’s also managed to build a fan base overseas. The DJ has remixed songs by singers including Beyonce and Christina Aguilera, as well as by Madonna herself. Nissim squeezed the unexpected Istanbul appearance into a busy June schedule, and will race back to Israel after the concert for a Friday performance at Tel Aviv’s gay pride celebrations.

In her concert in Israel, Madonna told fans about her desire for peace in the Middle East, saying it’s not possible to enjoy her music without also wanting an end to violence.

Keen observers may have noticed that Turkey and Israel haven’t enjoyed particularly warm relations in recent years, so it’s nice the singer’s doing her part to promote a bit of cultural exchange.

This week in Istanbul, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened a World Economic Forum summit with a speech in which he accused the Jewish state of “killing innocent people, children, babies, women and the elderly in masses” by bombardments and by keeping people “in the largest open-air prison in the world,” referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.


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