The central city of Rishon Lezion has taken upon itself to build Israel's
largest op-air venue – an amphitheater with 4,000 seats and room for another 16,000 viewers.
"We are ready to host all international performances arriving in Israel," says Mayor Dov Tzur.
The multi-purpose complex is slated to host a variety of events and performances which have been held so far in soccer and basketball stadiums.
The Rishon Lezion Municipality promises to offer a unique viewing experience according to international standards, which will be adjusted to local and global performances.
The new venue, planned by architect Gideon Sarig, is located west of the Superland amusement park, near the city's soccer stadium. The audience will be able to use thousands of available parking spots in the area, which is only several minutes away from the city's two railway stations.
The amphitheater is slated to open in about a year, and will initially be designed to host 10,000 viewers.
Today, the two major venues which host international artists are Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park, which can accommodate at least 50,000 people, or the Ramat Gan Stadium which has room for 20,000 people. Israel still doesn't have an organized amphitheater like in Berlin or London.
Yarkon Park has hosted most international concerts in Israel so far, including performances by Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Paul McCartney.
An audience of some 18,000 people watched Bob Dylan's recent concert at the Ramat Gan Stadium. Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters used a corn field in Neve Shalom to perform in front of 55,000 people.
When it comes to local singers, they all compete for the Caesarea Amphitheater. Yedioth Ahronoth reported recently that a new amphitheater was being built in the southern city of Ashdod.
The Ashdod venue, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, will be designed as a seashell and have room for 9,500 viewers – 4,500 seats and a grass area for 5,000 people.
But Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur has decided that he wants a bigger venue that Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri's, and the new amphitheater is expected to be the largest in Israel.