Bruno Mars delights crowd at Tel Aviv show declaring he wants to 'marry' Israel

The musician, who has Jewish ancestry, also sang in Hebrew, charming concertgoers


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Bruno Mars of Silk Sonic performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Pop star Bruno Mars played his first show in Israel on Wednesday night, and thrilled his fans with declarations of love for the Jewish homeland.

At the first of two sold-out shows in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, Mars sang the Hebrew words “Ani ohev otach” ("I love you") to the delight of concertgoers, and surprised the 60,000-strong crowd with a solo piano version of the Israeli children’s song, “Shlomit Bona Sukkah” ("Shlomit Builds a Succah"), by the late singer-songwriter Naomi Shemer, to mark the festival of Succot.

Dressed in Israeli colours - a white shirt and blue trousers - the multi-Grammy winner told the delighted crowd: “Tel Aviv, I think I want to marry you!” during his rendition of his hit “Marry You”.

Born Peter Hernandez, Mars's father is half-Jewish and half-Puerto Rican while his mother is Filipino. Mars's Jewish ancestors were of Hungarian and Ukrainian descent, and it has been reported that one of his grandparents was a Hebrew teacher.

Opening his set with “24K Magic”, the Hawaii-born star called out “Tel Aviv! The Hooligans [his band] have made it to Israel. We’ve heard stories about this place, we heard that you sweat and we heard that you dance… We’ve been waiting a long time to play for you," reported the Times of Israel.

The hitmaker is known worldwide for his exuberant live performances, and for singing and producing songs including “Just the Way You Are”, and his cover of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”, with which he closed his Yarkon Park set.

For Wednesday’s show, Mars was supported by Israeli performers Jonathan Mergui and Agam Buhnut, and the second concert will feature Netta Barzilai and Eliad Nachum.

Due to the tremendous demand for his first concert, which sold out in just two hours when tickets went on sale in March, the star added the additional show.

Despite the pressure that Mars had received to cancel the concert, from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, including its advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the producers Guy Beser and Shay Mor Yosef, owners of Bluestone Group's Live Nation Israel, were successful in bringing the star to Israel. 

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