LOS ANGELES — Justin Bieber is not getting much spiritual peace on his eagerly anticipated visit to Israel.
The Canadian teen idol bitterly complained Tuesday that paparazzi had ruined his visits to holy sites, saying on Twitter that he was “super frustrated” by the intrusions.
His mood was not helped by a newspaper report that a proposed meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell through after the singer allegedly refused to meet with invited children from a region affected by enemy rockets.
Bieber’s camp denied that he had snubbed the youngsters or Netanyahu, saying that the meeting had never been finalized. At any rate, Bieber had already invited children from the region bordering Gaza to be special guests at his show in Tel Aviv on Thursday, a spokesman said.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Netanyahu canceled the meeting over Bieber’s unwillingness to meet the children, but a government official was more circumspect.
“The prime minister was approached to meet with Justin Bieber. The prime minister was open to the idea and wanted to bring children from southern Israel in order for them to have an enjoyable experience. In the end, it was unfortunately not possible,” the Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
For his part, Bieber said on Twitter, “I want to see this country and all the places I’ve dreamed of and whether its the paps or being pulled into politics it’s been frustrating.” (Reuters has fixed some of the grammar.)
According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, the 17-year-old practicing Christian was also scheduled to tour the Dead Sea, Masada, and Caesarea.
But in an earlier series of missives, Bieber said aggressive photographers had forced him to spend the rest of his trip holed up in his hotel room.
“You would think paparazzi would have some respect in holy places,” wrote Bieber. “All I wanted was the chance to walk where Jesus did here in Israel.”
“They should be ashamed of themselves. Take pictures of me eating but not in a place of prayer, ridiculous ... People wait their whole lives for opportunities like this, why would they want to take that experience away from someone ... Staying in the hotel for the rest of the week u happy?”
After his concert for upwards of 25,000 fans at Hayarkon Park in the bustling city, he will likely face another round of paparazzi when he begins an Asian-Pacific swing in Malaysia on April 21.