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Banned Beatles get Israel invite

28 January 08 17:42 GMT

Israel is inviting the surviving members of The Beatles to celebrate the country's anniversary, 43 years after it banned the group.

The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, has met John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird, in Liverpool.

He has invited Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and relatives of Lennon and George Harrison to come to Israel in May for the 60th anniversary.

Israel banned the Beatles in 1965, fearing they would corrupt young fans.

But Mr Prosor - who is in Liverpool after marking Holocaust Memorial Day there - is a big fan of the Beatles and would like them to be part of the planned birthday celebrations.

"I would be very happy to have them come on Israel's 60th anniversary," he said.

"Lots of music lovers in Israel, both young and young-at-heart - and that means me - are really waiting for them."

Culture capital

The invitation has been passed to the director of the city's Beatles Story museum, Jerry Goldman.

Mr Goldman said: "I've got close ties to Israel, so I'm thrilled. It would be fantastic if they did visit."

But he added: "I know how difficult it was to get them to Liverpool. So I think there's only a slim chance of them going to Israel."

Ringo Starr launched Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in January.

He opened proceedings with a drum solo from the top of St George's Hall, before singing his latest single Liverpool 8.

Sir Paul is due to be the star attraction in June with a concert at Anfield which is expected to draw more than 30,000 people.

Liverpool is trying to develop cultural links with Israel, including the possibility of building a new museum dedicated to Jewish music.

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