In this May 24, 2003, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney performs during his concert in Red Square in Moscow. An upcoming concert by Paul McCartney in Israel, scheduled for Sept. 25, 2008, has revived memories of the 1960s, when an Israeli official called off a Beatles concert for fear it would corrupt the nation's youth. The episode is often fondly quoted as a relic of a long-lost Israel where the public's innocence needed protecting. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
An upcoming concert by Paul McCartney has revived memories of the 1960s, when an Israeli official supposedly called off a Beatles concert for fear it would corrupt the nation's youth. The episode is often fondly quoted as a relic of a long lost Israel where the public's innocence needed protecting. Trouble is, the story might not be true! With Israelis in a tizzy about McCartney's arrival, the official's son is taking the opportunity to try to clear his father's name, calling the tale a "Zionist urban legend." So pervasive is the story of the concert's cancellation 43 years ago that this year Israel's ambassador in London wrote a letter expressing regret over the matter to surviving members of the band. He told them the country would like to make it up to them, to come play during this year's celebrations marking Israel's 60th anniversary. Even before Paul McCartney announced the show, tickets went on sale at prices ranging from $140 to $430. The Israeli official blamed for canceling the 1965 concert was Yaakov Sarid, a stern-faced man in horn-rimmed glasses who was the Education Ministry's director.