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The Rolling Stones Make Terrific Gesture to Israel’s Orthodox for Their First Ever Israeli Concert

The Rolling Stones have delayed the start time for their June 4th Tel Aviv concert to accommodate Orthodox Israelis.

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Much has been said about former Pink Floyd guitarist Roger Waters attempts to have entertainers and musicians boycott Israel. Now not only have the Rolling Stones ignored such anti-Israel efforts, they have also moved back the start of their June 4th concert to be held Tel Aviv’s Hyarkon Park to 9:15 P.M. in order to allow orthodox Jews time to get to the venue after the end of the Shavuot holiday.

The City of Tel Aviv helped the band out in its decision by waving a city 11 PM curfew so that the Rolling Stones would not need to cut their show short due to the later start time.

Orthodox Jews do not use electricity, ride in cars or attend public concerts on Jewish religious holidays, such as this week’s Shavuot which lasts from Sundown Tuesday night to sundown Wednesday. The Rolling Stones concert was originally scheduled to begin at 8 PM on Wednesday, when the holiday does not end until about 8:20 PM. The change in time, it is hoped, will allow holiday observers enough time to attend the concert.

Many people had criticized the scheduling of the concert to conflict with a Jewish holiday. “On Israeli Memorial Day they wouldn’t have let something like this happen. Something is messed up here. Only money is important? What about our values?” complained religious Knesset member from the Jewish Home party, Nissan Slomiansky.

“It cannot be that they’ll hold a concert that will cause a desecration of the holiday by hundreds of thousands of Jews. It’s not logical to force the Israel police to work from two in the afternoon…and harm the honor of the holiday of the giving of the Torah, ” said the MK who had petitioned the concert’s promoters to change the show’s date.

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Promoter Shuki Weiss’ Weiss Promotion and Production explained the decision to push back the concert’s start time in a statement, “Following many requests from the public, particularly the observant public, to delay the starting hour for the performance, the City of Tel Aviv, together with the production team, decided to change the starting time.”

Reportedly poor ticket sales may have also played a part in the decision. One wonders if it is really possible that the Rolling Stones did not have enough secular fans in Israel to sell out.

Fans will be allowed to enter the park staring at 5:45 PM and the opening act, Israeli rock band Fortis, will begin its performance at 7:15.

The Rolling Stones kicked off a 14 city international tour that is to include Tel Aviv with a concert in Oslo, Norway last Monday night. Last Tuesday, the band’s guitarist Ron Wood posted a video on line saying how excited they are to perform in Israel. Israeli fans can request songs for the band to perform via its website:

It was reported in February that the Rolling Stones would receive $6.7 million from the show’s promoters. Not a lot of money to be divided amongst the groups members who are each reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But it is said to be the highest amount ever paid to any musicians to perform in Israel.

The Rolling Stones, interestingly, were encouraged to finally come to Israel by none other than Bob Dylan. Israel’s Channel Two News quoted Ron Wood as saying, “Bob Dylan was coming off stage and I asked him – ‘where you going?’ and he said, ‘Israel, we’re going to Tel Aviv!’ He had a big smile on his face, because he loves it. And I said to him, ‘well, we’ve never done it.’ That planted a seed that I’d like to play it one day. So, here we go.”

Tickets for the show have sold for between $200 and $850.

While Israeli fans were left disappointed by Rihanna last year when she gave a short and unenthusiastic performance, this is not expected at all from the Rolling Stones who are known for not having lost any of their energy and enthusiasm while performing, even after fifty years.

Famous rockers like Paul McCartney and Madonna have wowed concert goers in Tel Aviv in the past few years. Justin Timberlake put on a critically acclaimed show just last week.




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