Foreigners visiting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tend to be state leaders, high-level officials or at least some sort of dignitary. So when chatter arose that a meeting between the premier and Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber was being arranged in Jerusalem, it was chalked up to an attempt by Netanyahu to capitalize on Bieber Fever.
But the meeting will not take place, it was announced today, with the prime minister's office saying, "unfortunately, it proved impossible."
Impossible, it appears, because Netanyahu planned to invite children from a southern Israel community recently targeted by a barrage of rockets from Islamists in the Gaza Strip.
"We were approached by Justin Bieber's people about a meeting with the Prime Minister and Mr. Netanyahu was open to it," a spokesman told ABC News.
"He had an idea, he'd bring a number of youngsters that have a difficult time in bomb shelters over the past few weeks and bring them to an event that would be for them a fun occasion," the spokesman added."
A spokesman for Bieber told the Associated Press that a meeting was never planned. Another told the New York Times that children from the Sderot area, often targeted by missiles, had been invited to Thursday night's concert.
Israelis ranging from the usual hordes of teenage girls all the way up to the deputy foreign minister had been eagerly anticipating Bieber's arrival in Israel, with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon tweeting Bieber, "I know you will enjoy your time here as much as many Israelis will enjoy having you here."
Bieber eagerly set about seeing the Holy Land upon his arrival, taking a motorcycle for a tour and visiting some of the famous tourist spots. But he quickly tired of the attention that followed him everywhere, complaining of the paparazzi on Twitter, "They should be ashamed of themselves. Take pictures of me eating but not in a place of prayer, ridiculous."
He later wrote, "i want to see this country and all the places ive dreamed of and whether its the paps [paparazzi] or being pulled into politics its been frustrating."
Justin Bieber Frustrated By Israeli Politics
It's unclear whether the end of his comment was in reference to the canceled meeting.
There is now a fragile quiet in southern Israel following days of heavy rocket attacks from Gaza and counterstrikes by the Israeli Air Force that left 19 Palestinians dead. One Israeli teenager was injured when a schoolbus was hit by a rocket.
For now, it appears Bieber is lying low before the concert, telling online fans he's staying his hotel.
"Patience is a virtue," he wrote.