For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality was holding concerts for hundreds of children throughout the Independence Day weekend, with the help of rapid COVID-19 testing.
While most of Israel’s adult population has already received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, the vaccine has not yet been approved for use in children under the age of 16.
As cases of the coronavirus continue to fall in Israel, the Health Ministry decided this year to allow municipalities to hold large-scale Independence Day celebrations, with few restrictions in place. Israel’s Independence Day, also known as Yom Haatzmaut, began on Wednesday after sunset.
After over a year of small or even nonexistent events, picnics, parades and outdoor concerts were back on the program for the popular national holiday.
As part of this shift, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality was allowing up to 650 people at a time to attend children’s concerts.
The goal is to revive the city’s ailing culture industry, which has relied on virtual performances and small events to stay afloat over the past year.
“Tel Aviv is globally known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, which is why we were determined to open cultural events as soon as the majority of our adult population was vaccinated,” says Eytan Schwartz, director of media and communications at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.
“While children in Israel have not yet been part of the vaccination process, it is extremely important to allow them too to enjoy entertainment,” he says.
“That is why we are going to great lengths to open cultural events for them too.”
Children wishing to attend were able to take a free rapid COVID-19 test one hour prior to the concert, which were being held at Wohl Amphitheater in Tel Aviv.
The test, developed by Israeli company Co-Dev, provides accurate results within 15 minutes.
Those who have recovered from the virus were be able to present a Green Pass and enter without taking a test.
One of the bands performing for youngsters was the musical group Indi Yeled.
Asaf Cohen, co-manager and co-producer of Indi Yeled, founded the band together with Hila Dolgin nearly nine years ago.
“The show highlights all the classic children’s music hits in an up-to-date rock ‘n’ roll style,” Cohen says.
“It’s a party [celebrating] Hebrew music both for children and their parents. It’s for the entire family.”
Geared to children ages two and up, Indi Yeled were to perform in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon.
Like most others in the music industry, the group for the last year has been playing music mostly over Zoom and via virtual events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, according to Cohen, Friday’s show was to be the band’s first live performance in front of a large audience since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s very strange,” he says. “But we hope there will be more [concerts] in the future.
“Indi Yeled is a very high energy show,” Cohen says.
“The audience dances and sings, which is very hard to do over Zoom. So, we’re very excited and happy to finally be able to perform.”
Reprinted courtesy of The Media Line