Pro-Palestinian groups protested against the show...
Scott Colothan

12:12 25th September 2009

Leonard Cohen performed live in Israel for the first time in 34 years last night, despite controversy around the show.

The music legend's show at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv sparked protests from some Palestinian groups calling for the show to be axed in light of the attacks on Gaza earlier this year which cost 1,100 lives.

Ahead of the gig, Cohen's manager Robert Corey told the Associated Press:  "There are a lot of people who don't want us here, and anything done here invites controversy, but we believe freedom of speech is very, very important."

75-year-old Cohen has offered to perform in the West Bank city of Ramalla with proceeds from both shows going to Israeli-Palestinian peace groups.

200 bereaved families from Israel and Palestine were also invited to last night's show sitting in the VIP section.

Shortly before launching into show opener 'Dance Me to the End of Love' last night Cohen poignantly recited a Hebrew prayer to the 50,000 sell-out crowd.

Looking as dapper as ever he proceeded to rattle through a hits-heavy set featuring 'Hallelujah', 'Bird On A Wire' and 'Suzanne'.

The gig was only Leonard Cohen's second show since his collapsed on stage in Seville last week after suffering from a stomach complaint.

Cohen, who was born into a Jewish family, last performed in Israel in 1975. Two years previously he put on a show for Israeli troops during the Yom Kippur War.