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Thousands of Israelis flout coronavirus guidelines at anti-lockdown 'protest' concert Open in fullscreen

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Thousands of Israelis flout coronavirus guidelines at anti-lockdown 'protest' concert

The event circumvented Israel's ban on concerts by exploiting a regulatory loophole permitting protests [Twitter]

Date of publication: 23 May, 2020

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In what appears to be the biggest gathering since Israel's coronavirus outbreak, thousands of Israelis packed an event billed as a "protest" concert against lockdown measures.
Some 3,000 Israelis attended a Thursday concert in the capital Tel Aviv that was billed as a protest against the government's lockdown measures, according to news reports, in what appeared to be Israel's first large live music gathering since the country's novel coronavirus outbreak.

The event, named "Behind the Scenes: An Assembly of Solidarity", was set up to financially support crew members whose livelihoods depend on the live entertainment industry. The concert was organised by Israeli entrepreneurs and backed by the city of Tel Aviv and the Israeli police.

Though concerts are banned in Israel due to the pandemic, the event's organisers exploited a regulatory loophole which permitted protests.

The outdoor concert, which was held at a public park, featured more than a dozen famed Israeli acts, including rockstars Shalom Hanoch and Aviv Geffen, as well as pop singer Rita.

Photos and videos on social media showed a large crowd of concert-goers flouting social distancing to stand close to one another in front of the stage. Few of the attendees wore masks, according to the Times of Israel.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai also made an appearance at the event to deliver remarks about the virus' effect on the live entertainment industry.

“The coronavirus has left many musicians, actors, and those working behind the scenes [...] with no livelihoods," he said, according to Ynet. "This is a cry from an entire industry that is demanding answers.”

The event created a fund to support some 170,000 unemployed industry workers, Billboard reported. All staff members who helped run the show were paid, and the artists who performed decided to waive their fees.

As Israel's number of new Covid-19 infections has declined, Tel Aviv is gradually relaxing its lockdown measures. The city's beaches have reopened this week, and bars and restaurants are slated to open their doors next week.

However, the threat of a second wave of infections remains present.

Israel has recorded 16,712 Covid-19 cases and 279 deaths.

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