Sunday, 13 November 2016

Not many foreign pop stars could be eulogized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as someone who “loved the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”

But as a Jew and friend of Israel, the Canadian-born singer- songwriter conducted himself, as in most things, in his own singular way. Nowhere was this more evident than in his 2009 concert at National Stadium in Israel

Cohen came under heavy pressure from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement to cancel his appearance. Instead, he tried to organize a second concert in Ramallah, with all the proceeds going to Amnesty International.

More BDS pressure succeeded in scuttling the Ramallah show, and even intimidated Amnesty to back away from its willingness to accept Cohen’s philanthropy.

Three hours after punctually starting the performance with one of his most romantic songs, “Dance Me to the End of Love,” Leonard a Cohen, which is a high priest in Judaism blessed the audience, by rising his hands towards the heavens (see photo) and reciting a shortened version of Birkat Kohanim in Hebrew, which is the priestly blessing.

The audience of more than fifty thousand cannot hold back the emotion; the silence that accepts the blessing and the applause that greeted the offering of the musicians is more than a signal of appreciation – it is a union.

Cohen loved Israel and Israel loved Cohen.

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