Peres among Israeli fans attending Aznavour concert

Ten thousand Israelis attended Saturday night’s Charles Aznavour concert at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena. Israeli President Shimon Peres went backstage to meet with Aznavour prior to the performance, which may have accounted for the reason that Aznavour was a little late in meeting with his audience, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Aznavour, who at 89 (he turns 90 next May) is just a year younger than the president, complimented Peres on his appearance, his energy his efforts in the quest for peace.

At a news conference at the Dan Hotel, at which he was staying, Aznavour said he supported the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and he had hoped to perform in the Palestinian territories as well.

Both Peres and Aznavour are amazingly fit for their ages: Aznavour swims, while Peres exercises every day. The two men spent half an hour discussing music, literature, culture and the importance of French-Israel relations.

Both would have been happy to prolong the conversation, but Aznavour had a duty to the lovers of French chanson, who were getting ready for a night of nostalgia.

Though he has visited Israel previously, Aznavour, one of the most successful and prolific stage and recording artists in the world, had never before performed in Israel, and the fans, including Peres, who later took his seat in the audience, couldn’t wait to hear him.

They were not disappointed. During a two-hour concert, accompanied by an orchestra and back-up singers, the charismatic Aznavour sang a medley of his most famous songs, including “She,” which he performed together with Israeli singer Achinoam Nini (she in Hebrew, and he in French). The audience, including Peres, sang along.

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