Justin Timberlake was in Israel to perform a gig in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. But, like any tourist in the Holy Land, he had to check out some major religious destinations in Jerusalem before getting to work. Among them was the Western Wall, (also known as the Kotel) the holiest site in the city for followers of Judaism.
“The Holy Land… What an experience,” Timberlake said in an Instagram post featuring a photo of him touching the wall in a reverent stance. “I will never forget this day. #Israel.”
The snap has gotten more than 250,000 Likes so far, with many Israeli fans expressing love and gratitude for the singer’s visit and some others taking issue with Justin’s inadvertent step into the long-simmering Palestinian-Israeli conflict over territory by hashtagging his picture “Israel”. One fan wrote, “the land belongs to Palestine,” while another said, “WOWWWW people can be so mean the holy land originally belonged to Palestine I am from Palestine and will NEVER consider myself from Israel.”
Jerusalem is one of the key points of conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, with Palestinians calling for a division based on pre-1967 borders and Israelis arguing for a unified city for security purposes.
Princesstimberlake7981 took a neutral path, writing, “#israel is gods land the bible doesnt change gods word will always be gods word. Jt is right. God bless jesus god israel and jt.”
— Brett Alexander (@OneAndOnlyBRETT) May 27, 2014
At press time, many of the comments on the photo were still heated, though one poster made a plea for cooler heads to prevail. “I think you should stop this fight,” wrote Mahboubaz. “We are living on One Earth. Let’s try to establish #Peace.”
Pope Francis visited the same site the day before JT.