An assisted living facility in central Israel on Tuesday evening staged a concert in a confined space for some 200 of its residents despite the nationwide lockdown and surging coronavirus cases.
The performance, which featured pop stars Nurit Galron and Marina Maximilian Blumin, was held at the Ganei Tikva facility, in a closed hall, with no social distancing and without an approval from the government, allowing such events to resume.
The Ganei Tikva complex, operated by The Mediterranean Towers Ltd, is a luxury retirement community that apparently offers "a variety of housing options, copious activities and services, a unique cultural perception and a trained professional team".
The Mediterranean Towers said they staged the event after receiving the approval from "relevant officials" having vaccinated all residents of the facility against coronavirus.
"After the past year had been haunted by the coronavirus pandemic, we are filled with happiness and excitement to invite you to attend a concert together with your family members at our home in Ganei Tikva," said the original invitation. "All you are required to do is register for the concert and list a family member who can join you, who has to present a certificate of receiving a second vaccine shot at least a week prior."
The invitation said the concert could include 150 residents and 25 family members.
"It was very weird," said Arik, a resident of the facility. "We all felt very lonely due to coronavirus so it is nice of them to do this."
Daniella, a relative who attended the concert, said although she arrived with her mother, she was still worried.
"It still does not feel completely safe," she said. "Even though I am vaccinated, it is still unclear if it is enough. If it is safe enough, theaters and other cultural venues could have reopened already," she added.
"I know it must be exciting to everyone here," said one of the facility's administrators before the concert.
"I just thought about how much our lives had changed in the past year to the point where the normal has become extraordinary. This event is exciting to us all because the vaccination effort we had undertaken lately has started to show the light at the end of the tunnel, the end of this era and a swift return to normalcy."