Madonna Tour Kicks Off In Israel

The European leg of Madonna’s world tour starts May 29 in Israel, where her previous visit created controversy among various religious groups.

In 2009, the world’s best-selling solo performer wrapped her Sticky & Sweet tour at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, and upset Palestinians by wrapping herself in an Israeli flag.

Having embraced the Kabbalah religion, a mystic strand of Judaism, she also managed to upset some of its Jewish rabbis. They claimed she was grossly misinterpreting their doctrine.

In 2004, she canceled shows in the strife-torn region reportedly because of death threats to her children, although agent John Giddings said the stories were “made up” and that the dates were never confirmed.

The tour is her fifth for Live Nation and will be the biggest she’s undertaken. The first tickets go on sale Feb. 10 and the whole tour will be on sale by the end of the month.

LN chief exec for global touring Arthur Fogel told Pollstar that Madonna’s Super Bowl performance has been a key part of the launch for the new record and the tour.

He says he expects the dates will carry on from the record-breaking success of the Sticky & Sweet tour, which grossed more than $105 million in 2008.

“She is at the top of her game and continues to prove it,” he said.

After the Tel Aviv show, the tour rolls on through Abu Dhabi, Turkey and Croatia before moving on to such primary European markets as Italy, Spain, Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK.

The London show is in Hyde Park July 17, 10 days before the start of the Olympic Games.

The last of the European shows is at the Stade Charles-Erhmann, Nice, France Aug. 21.

The U.S. leg of the tour begins in Philadelphia Aug. 28.