"An Israeli singer will take part in an Italian television commemoration of Pope John Paul II. Achinoam Nini will perform her version of "Ave Maria" during Friday's broadcast of the pontiff's funeral in the Vatican. "Friends of mine from Italy called and said that 'Ave Maria' was being played all the time, and referred to it as the 'anthem of the funeral,' " Nini told Ma'ariv on Thursday. "
--- quite what a nice Jewish-Yemini girl from Israel-NY is doing singing 'Ave Maria' is a bit of a mystery (and a bit icky), but then Irving Berlin wrote "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" (didn't he??). I seem to remember reading somewhere else that she had once sung this in front of the late Pope.
**--- and in addition, Haaretz carries a banner saying that according to Israel radio Israeli singer Noa (Achinoam Nini) will be the "only" performer at the funeral.