Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Monday said he intends to limit local authorities’ exorbitant spending on musical performances by top artists during Independence Day celebrations, after reports of large paydays by several top artists performing in free municipal celebrations.
Deri said he plans to accept the recommendations of an internal committee, and limit the sums paid to singers by municipalities to NIS 70,000 ($19,000) as of 2020.
In recent years, Independence Day has become a golden goose for top pop musicians, with artists often making hundreds of thousands of shekels for a single performance and local authorities jockeying to book the most popular acts.
Pop singer Omer Adam is reportedly set to lead the pack next week, making over NIS 1 million ($276,000) in four performances over Independence Day, with singers Eyal Golan, Moshe Peretz, and others not far behind.
Among the places Adam will play are the working class towns of Ramle and Lod in central Israel.
Deri said putting a legal cap on costs would prevent poorer municipalities from overspending in order to provide their residents with quality entertainment.
“Residents of local municipalities have the right to enjoy high-quality performances at a sane cost, and not at the expense of other essential services,” he said.
“There is no reason that disadvantaged municipalities should pay massive sums to singers on Independence Day above and beyond their means. This leads to heavy debt for some of the municipalities.”
He also said it was proper “to give an opportunity to local veteran performers, some of whom are today being pushed away from the big stages.”
The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel welcomed the decision, expressing support for ending “cynical exploitation” of local authorities “who are already staggering under the burden of everyday expenses.”
Meanwhile top producers warned the Ynet news site that limited pay could lead top artists to avoid performing.
“They simply won’t come. It won’t be worthwhile for them,” an unnamed senior official said.