Forty-Three Years After Banning Beatles Israel Says 'We Can Work it Out'

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Forty-three years after banning the Beatles from playing here, Israel is crooning Love Me Do to surviving members of the Fab Four and inviting them to perform at the Jewish state's 60th birthday bash in May, an Israeli daily reported Monday.

The Beatles had been booked to appear in Israel in 1965 but government officials refused to grant the necessary permits, citing concerns that the tousled-haired British band and its strident, amplified music could corrupt the morals of Israeli youth.

The Yediot Ahronot newspaper quoted extensively from a letter of apology it said Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, was due to give to slain Beatle John Lennon's sister Julia Baird on Monday at The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool, the group's birthplace. It said copies of the letter would also be sent to relatives of late guitarist George Harrison and to survivors Paul McCartney, 65, and Ringo Starr, 67.

"We should like to take this opportunity to correct the historic omission which to our great regret occurred in 1965, when you were invited to Israel," Yediot quoted the letter as saying. "We should like to see you sing in Israel."

In Jerusalem, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel confirmed that Prosor would meet Baird and invite her to Israel for the gala marking Israel's founding in May 1948. But he said he had no knowledge of any letter of apology or of invitations to Paul and Ringo to perform.