- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2011

JERUSALEM (AP) - The legendary Kiss bassist Gene Simmons says that watching Jerusalem go through a deadly bombing this week has not changed his belief that Jews and Arabs can live in peace.

The Israeli-born entertainer, on his first visit to his homeland since leaving as a child 52 years ago, said he was visiting Yad Vashem, the country’s national Holocaust memorial, at the time of Wednesday’s blast. The memorial is about two miles away from the site.

Simmons said the attack, which killed a female British tourist, was the work of extremists who can’t cope with the move toward freedom and democracy sweeping through the Arab world. “We can’t give these losers headlines,” he told The Associated Press on Friday.

“There’s one thing that unites Israelis, Arabs and all humanity. We all strive to be free,” he said. “There’s a new generation of Arabs who are doing astonishing things. … We have to take a moment to honor Arabs for having the courage to stand up.”

Simmons said that he has already begun arrangements for multiple Kiss concerts in Israel, and that the band would also love to perform in the Arab world as well. But he said the band, known for its makeup, flamboyant outfits and pyrotechnics, would steer clear of politics when they perform.

“It’s the greatest show on earth,” he said.

Simmons is in Israel with his longtime girlfriend, actress Shannon Tweed, filming material for his reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” He said he’s toured Jerusalem holy sites, ridden a camel and enjoyed watching Tweed, a statuesque former Playboy Playmate, float in the Dead Sea.

“That rocks,” he said.

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