Madonna in IsraelJun 3, 2012 at 07:39:23 AM
The big news in Israel last Thursday was the Madonna concert attended by 40,000 fans in metropolitan Tel Aviv. Because this was the opening gig of her new world tour, media coverage was vast and global.
Welcome to Israel 2012.
Nineteen years ago I authored an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post entitled, "Madonna: Do We Really Wanna-Be?" It coincided with the pop star's first-ever concert in Israel.
At the time, Madonna was pushing the limits of public lewdness: promoting her album "Erotica" and a book entitled simply, "Sex."
My article bemoaned how Madonna's very un-Jewish values were being imported into Israel.
Jewish communities throughout the ages have always stood against such behavior. The Jewish people are the inventors and leading exporters of core human values such as dignity, modesty and discretion.
Israel in particular is a living workshop where lofty Jewish ideals can become reality. We have built our land so beautifully and have achieved so much. But to chase after the lowly elements of Western society? Is this the expression of "light unto the nations?" Is this the culmination of 2,000 years of struggle and suffering? Is this what IDF soldiers died for? Is this being "free in our land?"
Not so long ago Israeli society still held itself to a higher standard. In the 1960s when British rock legend Cliff Richard performed in Israel, parents protested the negative effects of the raucous atmosphere. No, I’m not a prude. But the point is that Israel – the model of morality for world Jewry, and the model for all humanity – had drawn a line.
Achad HaAm called Israel "the historic center of a roving spiritual idea." When Madonna kicks off her world tour and the world watches so closely, we have to wonder: Is this really what we want them to see?