Israel says it has invited Beatles to play

January 29, 2008 6:39:03 PM PST
More than 40 years after it barred the iconic British band from playing there, Israel said it wants the surviving members of the Beatles to participate in a concert celebrating the country's 60th birthday.

But the Israeli embassy in London denied a report that the Jewish state had apologized for its original refusal to let the Beatles perform in the country. The band had been booked to appear in 1965, but the government refused to grant the necessary permits on the ground that its music might corrupt the country's morals.

"Israel missed a chance to learn from the most influential musicians of the decade, and the Beatles missed an opportunity to reach out to one of the most passionate audiences in the world," Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor said in a letter addressed to Sir Paul McCartney. "On our 60th anniversary, we would like to take the opportunity to offer you a second chance to play in Israel."

The embassy said a letter was presented by Prosor to Jerry Goldman, CEO of the Beatles Story in the north England city of Liverpool. It was also sent to Sir Paul McCartney and Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr.