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Latest update : 2008-09-24

Paul McCartney arrived in Israel for a his first-ever concert in the Jewish state. Already 40,000 tickets have been sold for the show. Authorities had earlier apologised for the cancellation in 1965 of a Beatles concert.

Music legend Paul McCartney, one of two surviving members of the Beatles, arrived in Israel on Wednesday ahead of his first-ever concert in the Jewish state.

The British musician told journalists and fans who greeted him at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv that he wanted to bring "a message of peace and love" to the Middle East, according to Israeli public radio.

He will perform an outdoor concert in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The gig, part of a series of one-off concerts in places the 66-year-old musician has never visited before, comes after two previous unsuccessful attempts by McCartney to perform in the Jewish state.

The Beatles drew up plans to play in Israel at the height of Beatlemania in 1965, but they were cancelled after sponsors failed to raise enough money and lawmakers voiced concern that they might corrupt young Israeli minds.

McCartney also nearly performed in Israel in the late 1970s, but concerts with his post-Beatles band Wings were cancelled due to problems with the venues, he said in comments posted on his website.

In January Israel apologised for the cancellation of the 1965 concert in letters to the two surviving members of the Beatles -- McCartney and Ringo Starr -- and the families of deceased members John Lennon and George Harrison.

McCartney has played a number of one-off concerts this year, including the "Independence Concert" in Ukraine in June and in Quebec in July.

Date created : 2008-09-24