Tel Aviv launched the return of live culture events Wednesday with a concert by singer Nurit Galron for the city’s seniors, as Israel nervously leaves its third nationwide lockdown behind and continues with its world-leading vaccination campaign.
Held outside in Ganei Yehoshua park at 5 p.m., the concert was Tel Aviv’s first, and one of the first in the country to be held after an 11-month hiatus of cultural events.
Theaters, concert venues, museums, and other spaces were allowed, as of Sunday night, to host (small) crowds, as Israel emerged from what it hopes will be its last extended coronavirus lockdown.
Under the new regulations, Wednesday’s concert, like all cultural events now on offer across the country, was only open to so-called Green Pass holders, who have either been vaccinated against, or recovered from, COVID-19.
“It provides protection, but also a feeling of comfort to sit among people who are vaccinated,” Doron Zicher, a retired businessman, told Reuters at the Ganei Yehoshua venue.
“After a year staying at home in a sort of isolated environment it feels great to go out and experience public shows and activities,” he said.
Nearly all theaters and clubs have been closed for the duration of the pandemic, although museums and some of the smaller venues opened briefly during the summer and late fall, at the end of the first and second lockdowns.
The move to bring back culture comes as infection rates have dropped and nearly half the country has been vaccinated against the virus, allowing the government to move toward reopening large parts of the economy, including malls, gyms and hotels.
Also Wednesday, Herzliya’s city hall hosted a concert by popular musician Idan Raichel, with Rotem Cohen and Dikla scheduled to play Thursday night. In Jerusalem, singer Miri Mesika kicked off the capital city’s program of cultural events in the Pisgat Ze’ev concert hall on Monday night.
According to Health Ministry data released on Thursday, 4,598,197 people in Israel, about half of the country’s total population, have now received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of these, 3,209,993 people have received both doses of the vaccine.