JERUSALEM – Pop music star Madonna treated tens of thousands of ecstatic fans in Israel to the inaugural show of her “MDNA” world tour on Thursday, performing in a country where she has long claimed a special bond.

The “Material Girl,” a devotee of a form of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, danced, bumped, grinded and vogued in flashy costumes to a raucous crowd at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv.

Madonna emerged on stage in a confessional, breaking through its glass window using a rifle, which she then aimed at the audience. She wore a skin-tight black outfit to sing her first song, “Girl Gone Wild,” accompanied by dancers dressed as monks.

She went on to sing “Give Me All Your Luvin”‘ and a mash-up of the classic “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” dressed as a marching band conductor.

While some artists have opted to boycott Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians, the 53-year-old Madonna’s ties to the Jewish state have only strengthened in the last few years.

She has made personal pilgrimages in 2004 and 2007 along with other Kabbalah devotees. She wrapped up her 2008-2009 “Sticky and Sweet” tour with two shows in the Holy Land, her first in 16 years.

During that show, she wrapped herself in an Israeli flag and called Israel the “energy center of the world.”

Madonna, who is not Jewish, has been dabbling in Kabbalah for more than a decade and has taken on a Hebrew name, Esther. On previous trips to Israel she went to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the holiest site where Jews can pray, and visited the grave of a revered Jewish sage.

Her passion for Kabbalah has sparked criticism in Israel, where some rabbis chide her for venturing into religious study usually reserved for those with a strong background in Jewish law.

She landed in Israel last week, arriving with her children, her boyfriend, Brahim Zaibat and a 70-person entourage. She spent the days leading up to the performance rehearsing for the glitzy show and visiting Kabbalah centers.

Her spiritual serenity may have been challenged by Israel’s aggressive paparazzi, who have been camped outside her beachfront hotel and near the stadium where she is performing. Video of her rehearsals has leaked onto the Internet, and photos of Madonna and her children have appeared in Israel’s newspapers almost daily since she arrived.

For years, violence kept musicians away from Israeli stages. Now, with the ebb of the Palestinian uprising over the last decade, performers planning concerts have faced pressure from activists to cancel their appearances in Israel as political punishment.

A number of artists have heeded the call, while others like Madonna, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen have performed to gracious fans in recent years.

After Tel Aviv, the “MDNA” tour moves on to Abu Dhabi and includes stops in Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Cleveland, Ohio.

Her last tour grossed more than $400 million.’

Winehouse’s London home for sale

LONDON – The family of Amy Winehouse has put the late singer’s London home up for sale for 2.7 million pounds, or $4.2 million.

The three-bedroom property in the Camden neighborhood of northwest London had become a shrine of sorts for mourning fans who left flowers and tributes following Winehouse’s death last July from alcohol poisoning.

Chris Goodman, a spokesman for the Winehouse family, said Thursday that the singer had loved the house and her family put it on the market because they felt it would be inappropriate for any of them to live there.

“It was not practical to keep it empty while paying the costs of its upkeep,” he said in a statement.

Devil Wears Prada’ sequel in the works

NEW YORK – Lauren Weisberger has made another deal with the devil.

Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that the author of “The Devil Wears Prada” has a sequel planned for next April.

“Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns” continues the adventures of former magazine assistant Andrea “Andy” Sachs, now a bridal magazine editor, and the imperious boss she thought she had escaped, Miranda Priestly.

Published in 2003, “The Devil Wears Prada” was adapted into a hit film of the same name starring Meryl Streep as Miranda and Anne Hathaway as Andy.

Weisberger is a former assistant at Vogue, and Miranda is widely considered a fictionalized version of editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

– From news service reports