Israeli singer cancels shows due to ‘fascist’ COVID vaccine restrictions

Popular performer Matti Caspi says he won’t perform after ‘Green Pass’ restrictions reinstated; ‘I won’t cooperate with dictatorship or fascism’

Israeli musician Matti Caspi performs in Gush Etzion on December 10, 2015.(Gershon Elinson/Flash 90)
Israeli musician Matti Caspi performs in Gush Etzion on December 10, 2015.(Gershon Elinson/Flash 90)

Matti Caspi, one of Israel’s best-known musicians, said he is canceling a series of concerts due to the reinstatement of “Green Pass” entry restrictions at large events.

“I already stated in the past that I won’t perform if there are restrictions that won’t allow some of my fans to come to my show,” Caspi wrote on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon. “I won’t cooperate with dictatorship or fascism.”

Caspi said he would prefer to “disappoint myself” and not perform, rather than disappoint “even two of my fans who want to come to my show but cannot because they are not vaccinated.”

Last week, the coronavirus cabinet voted to approve the return of the “Green Pass” system for large events beginning on Thursday. The original Green Pass restrictions were lifted by the previous government on June 1.

According to the new plan, entry to events of more than 100 people — both indoor and outdoor — will be allowed only to those who are vaccinated, recovered or who present a negative COVID test. Children under age 12 — who are not eligible to be vaccinated — are exempt from the system.

Caspi wrote that he will perform “only when all the restrictions are lifted and anyone who wants can come to my shows — either everyone or no one!”

Fans line up for autographs from Matti Caspi, the iconic musician and singer who showed up at Kibbutz Be’eri for an impromptu concert on July 31, 2014. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Last year, Caspi branded then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “dictator” over the government’s shuttering of cultural institutions during the pandemic.

“When the one from Balfour” — the Jerusalem street that hosts the prime minister’s official residence — “decided to close the national library, I decided to respond,” Caspi said last August in a Facebook video.

“I suggest the dictator practice what he has decided [for others],” he added. “Since he closed everything connected to culture and ruined the lives of all those who create culture, let him take down off his walls all the paintings that hang there, take all art works in his home and destroy them immediately.”

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