Photo Credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
When Justin Bieber arrived in Israel on Monday, he was hoping for a contemplative spiritual trip to the Holy Land. Instead, the 17-year-old singer has been mobbed nonstop by paparazzi and, worse, dragged into a diplomatic mess involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu.
So here's what happened, according to The New York Times. Bieber, who is in Israel for an outdoor concert on Thursday night, had his people approach Netanyahu about a possible meeting while he was in town. The Prime Minister tentatively agreed to a meet-and-greet, but requested to invite some Israel children whose communities have recently been under Palestinian fire.
Netanyahu's spokesperson says that Bieber's reps didn't like the idea of including the children, and called the meeting off. The implication, of course, is that Bieber didn't want to appear to be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. That didn't go down well with those who want him to support Israel -- and the idea that he snubbed a bunch of refugee children didn't help, either. But the singer's camp says that the meeting fell apart purely because of logistics and miscommunication, and that politics had nothing to do with it.
"Justin welcomes the chance to meet with kids facing difficult circumstances, regardless of their background, and in fact, he had already invited children from the Sderot area," said Bieber's spokesperson, referring to the Gaza border town the prime minister had named.
On top of all this, Bieber has been frustrated by his lack of privacy in a place where sacred things should be respected.
"You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places. All I wanted was the chance to walk where jesus did here in isreal," Bieber tweeted on Tuesday. "They should be ashamed of themselves. Take pictures of me eating but not in a place of prayer, ridiculous. People wait their whole lives for opportunities like this, why would they want to take that experience away from someone?"
Later, the singer wrote that he was going to be confining himself to his hotel for a while -- although he was disappointed with the way everything went down.
"Been super frustrated and just needed some time to vent and chill," Bieber confessed on Twitter. "I want to see this country and all the places I've dreamed of and whether it's the paps or being pulled into politics its been frustrating."
"Im just excited at this pt to get on stage and perform," Bieber added, ever the professional. "Gonna take a little break from twitter and enjoy this time with my family until then."
Hopefully he'll get a moment of that peace and quiet he was expecting!