Singer Alicia Keys performed to a packed house in Tel Aviv on Thursday night, writes Debra Green

Alicia Keys set the stage on fire

Alicia Keys set the stage on fire

The American singer, who refused to heed calls from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her to cancel the show, alluded to her views on the boycott lobby in a recent interview with the New York Times. She said: “Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love. That is the spirit of our show.”

And her message was heard loud and clear in Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena as she invited two special guests to join her on stage. While singing “Fallin’”, the hit that shot her to fame in 2001, Keys invited Israeli world-music superstar Idan Raichel, to join her on stage for a musical “mash-up”.

The audience sang along to Raichel’s famous song, “Mima’amakim” as Keys nodded her head in time to the beat before jumping back in with “Fallin’”. Raichel accompanied her on the black grand piano and the audience continued to sing.

Keys’ second guest of the night was her two-year-old son, Egypt.  Asked by his mother what he thought they should do next, Egypt grinned and replied into the mic: “Let’s sing!”

As she ended the show with her chart-topping ‘Empire State of Mind’ Keys had one final message to her audience.  “This song is about hopes and dreams. We all have the same hopes and dreams. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Don’t let anyone hold us back or push us down.”