Two photographers were lightly injured on Friday in a scuffle with pop superstar Madonna's bodyguards after trying to take the singer's picture in Tel Aviv.
Madonna's Kabbalah cult injures Israeli police and photographers
Madonna was sitting in the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv when the two news photographers tried to photograph her. Her bodyguards intervened, striking them.
The two were taken to Ichilov Hospital for treatment. A policeman who tried to separate the sides was also injured. Police detained two of the bodyguards, both of them Tel Aviv residents.
Madonna and her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie attended a lecture Thursday given by her Los Angeles Kabbalah teacher, Eitan Yardeni, at the David Intercontinental Hotel.
Madonna landed in Israel on Wednesday evening to take part in a Kabbalah conference with some 2,000 participants from 22 countries. Madonna, who performed in Israel in 1993, arrived here from Lisbon, the last leg of her "Reinvention" world tour which began in May.
Ritchie arrived in Israel together with her, but her two children were not accompanying them.
The Kabbalah Center sponsoring the event confirmed that fashion designer Donna Karan would also be participating in the conference, along with Marla Maples, Donald Trump's ex-wife. Actress Demi Moore was also reportedly joining the group.
The Kabbalah Center has extensively publicized the participation of Rabbi Philip Berg, head of the world Kabbalah Center, as conference head, but Haaretz has learned that Berg would not attend the conference. "The rabbi is ill, and he is now feeling better. He has to get permission from his doctors to fly to Israel," Tali Rosen, Kabbalah Center spokesperson said.
The conference began on Wednesday night and was expected to continue until Sunday. The main event is a gala benefit for a "spiritual fund for children," to be held at the David Intercontinental Hotel. Ahinoam Nini was to have sung three numbers, including John Lennon's "Imagine," along with Palestinian songstress Amal Murkus. Madonna was scheduled to speak at the event.
Conference participants will spend 12 days in Israel. Their itinerary includes the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai in Meron, the tomb of Kabbalah luminary Rabbi Isaac Lurie in Safed, and the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem. The center has reserved 1,200 rooms in hotels in Tel Aviv and Tiberias.
Madonna's fans are coming out in full force at the hotel for their idol. One fan, Liron Shahar, 24, from Petah Tikva, had a special shirt Tuesday to wear in hopes of attracting the star's attention, emblazoned with the Kabbalistic name Madonna chose for herself, Esther.
On the invitation to journalists extended by Arad Communication representing the Kabbalah Center, news organizations were asked to send non-Jewish camera crews to cover conference events taking place on Rosh Hashanah and Saturday. The invitation also notes that Jewish journalists may not write.
"We are not interested in desecrating the holiday," explained Rosen, who also said they did not want "to hurt the feelings of those for whom the holiday and the Sabbath are important."
A public address system will be in operation over the holiday, which, according to Rosen "is permitted according to halakha [Jewish law]."
Haaretz (Il), "Madonna's bodyguards injure cop, two photographers", 19 September 2004.
[ http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/478462.html ]
"The Insider" mailing list article, 19 September 2004.
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