Police bust illegal outdoor party of some 600 in Negev

80 fines handed out for violation of health guidelines that cap outdoor gatherings at 20; 3 DJs detained and sound systems confiscated

Party-goers enjoy a rave in the Negev on March 5, 2021. (Israel Police)
Party-goers enjoy a rave in the Negev on March 5, 2021. (Israel Police)

Police overnight Friday-Saturday broke up an outdoor party in the Negev that was attended by roughly 600 people, in violation of the government’s health guidelines.

Officers were called to the scene near Nahal Tzin after receiving noise complaints. When they arrived, they found a large tent complex that included four dance floors and hundreds of people inside.

Police handed out some 80 fine to revelers. Current health guidelines cap outdoor gatherings at 20 people.

Three DJs were detained for questioning and their sound systems were confiscated by police, a statement from law enforcement said.

Police did not want the party-goers to drive home in the middle of the night, so the crowd was ordered to remain on site and was allowed to depart in the morning, police said.

Earlier this week, the cabinet approved allowing political parties to hold election events of up to 300 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

However, the space cannot be more than 75% percent full, social distancing must be maintained and all attendees must be either vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus.

The plan was criticized by some for allowing mass gatherings indoors while thousands of students still remain at home and many businesses remain shuttered.

Tomer Lotan, a senior official in the Health Ministry, told The Marker that the outline for the proposal was based on that used for cultural events, which the immunized public is also now allowed to attend under restrictions.

A final vote on further lifting coronavirus restrictions was delayed on Friday, infuriating restaurant owners, who were awaiting approval for reopening on Sunday as Israel prepares to take its next step out of its third nationwide lockdown.

The move to further ease restrictions needs a third vote of approval from the coronavirus cabinet, which was rescheduled for Saturday night.

Besides reopening restaurants, the next stage out of lockdown includes reopening some schools, cafes, event venues, attractions and hotels — with some of the activities available only to those with Green Passes signaling they are immunized against COVID-19.

The postponed vote was reportedly caused by a delay in writing the regulations by legal advisers.

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