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Tel Aviv, October 22 - Music fans in Israel will be treated to four live shows by legendary rock musician Elvis Presley this coming spring, local promoters announced today.
King Promotions, a Tel-Aviv-based agency, announced that in May next year, the King of Rock 'n' Roll will perform in Tel Aviv, Haifa,
Jerusalem, and Beer Sheva, with a possible fifth appearance in the southernmost city of Eilat.
Presley has yet to perform in Israel despite his popularity there. Sales of Presley's music have remained on par with those in most Western countries, but the rock superstar has seldom ventured beyond US shores. His last performance abroad was an appearance in Canada in 1957, and he served in the US Army in Germany from 1958 to 1960.
Perhaps as a nod to his Jewish roots, Presley will begin his first international tour with the Tel Aviv show. His maternal grandmother was Jewish, and since in Jewish law Jewish ancestry follows the mother, it follows that his own mother, and therefore he, was Jewish. The artist behind "Love Me Tender" and "Blue Suede Shoes" had a Star of David engraved on his mother's tombstone after her passing in 1959, and had a warm relationship with the Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee, though, like much of his extended family, his Judaism was otherwise seldom expressed.
The announcement represents a blow to the aspirations of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel, which has for years tried to prevent artists and performers from visiting the Jewish State. Presley's appearances follow a series of other high-profile musicians who have spurned BDS, most recently Lady Gaga. The King, however, carries even more cultural weight, and his performances constitute a reality check for the movement, which often harasses or threatens performers not to take their act to Israel. A small group of BDS activists made their way to Graceland in Memphis today to register their protest.
Specific dates have yet to be released, and tickets will not be offered for sale until next month. King Productions anticipates being able to charge a premium for attendance, in addition to the revenue from corporate entities interested in piggybacking on the unprecedented publicity potential.
After Israel, Presley is expected to perform in Germany in a gesture to his days as a US soldier there, though some fans suspect he chose Berlin after encountering reports that generic chocolate pudding with a whipped cream topping is available cheap at supermarkets there.