JERUSALEM – Kiss’ Israeli-born singer-musician Gene Simmons is shouting out loud at the string of musicians who refuse to perform in his homeland.

“They’re fools,” the legendary bassist told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday, on his first return to Israel since leaving the country as a child more than 50 years ago.

Simmons described the visit as a “homecoming.” He offered a description of himself that might shock his legions of fans who know him as an American icon prone to spitting blood and sticking out his exceptionally long tongue:

“I’m Israeli. I’m a stranger in America. I’m an outsider,” he said, speaking in a hotel lobby across a valley from the walls of Jerusalem’s historic Old City. “I was born here and I’m proud of it.”

Simmons had harsh words for musicians like Elvis Costello and the Pixies who have recently canceled concerts to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has gone further, joining an organized movement dedicated to boycotting Israel and its exports, though he appeared in Israel in 2006.

“The countries they should be boycotting are the same countries that the populations are rebelling,” he said.

Simmons, 61, is visiting Israel as part of his reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” which follows the adventures and musings of the rocker, his longtime girlfriend, Shannon Tweed, and their two children.

Medvedev meets favorite rock band, Deep Purple, for tea

MOSCOW – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a big heavy metal fan, has fulfilled a lifelong dream by getting to meet his favorite rock band, Deep Purple.

The British group met the leader for tea at his residence of Gorki outside Moscow on Wednesday, Russian news agencies said.

The 45-year-old president told Deep Purple the band has been a favorite of his since the age of 12. He also revealed that as a DJ at his school in Leningrad he would play rock music at discos, after first getting the approval of the Communist youth organization.

Medvedev is a well-known heavy metal fan, while Vladimir Putin, his predecessor and Russia’s current prime minister, is reported to be an ABBA fan.

Lohan rejects offer to plead, will fight case

LOS ANGELES – Lindsay Lohan rejected a judge’s offer to end a felony grand theft case early on Wednesday, signaling the actress intends to fight a case filed over a necklace she has been accused of stealing from a upscale jewelry store.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz never publicly detailed the terms of his offer to Lohan, but said if she pleaded no contest or guilty in the case, he would sentence her to jail. Prosecutors are also seeking jail time for the “Mean Girls” star, who was on probation for a 2007 drunken driving case when a store in Venice told police that Lohan had taken a necklace without permission in January.

Lohan’s attorney Shawn Holley notified the prosecutor handling the case that Lohan would not be taking Schwartz’s plea offer, district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said. Wednesday was the deadline for Lohan to notify Schwartz of her intentions and she will now be required to appear in court on April 22 for a preliminary hearing.

The hearing will be conducted by a new judge – the fourth one Lohan has faced in the past year – who will determine whether there is enough evidence for Lohan to stand trial on the felony grand theft charge.

If the judge rules Lohan should stand trial, the actress could immediately be sentenced for a probation violation and sent to jail for the fourth time.

The actress, 24, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied wrongdoing.