Singer's first Israeli show in almost two decades has been called off, after Tel Aviv police were said to have feared for the safety of Young and his fans
Neil Young and Crazy Horse have cancelled a 17 July concert in Israel, citing "tensions which have rendered the event unsafe". As the region shudders with rocket explosions and missile attacks, the musicians said they "look forward to playing in Israel and Palestine in peace".
"It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we must cancel our one and only Israeli concert," Young and his band said in a statement. Some 30,000 people had bought tickets to the gig at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park – the singer's first Israeli show in almost two decades.
According to Reuters, the decision to call off the concert was made by Tel Aviv police, who feared for the physical safety of Young and his fans. "[We did not want] to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk", explained police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
More than 100 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday, and hundreds more have been launched since Israeli authorities initiated Operation Protective Edge on 8 July. The United Nations Security Council has now called for a ceasefire between the two sides, asking for a "de-escalation of the situation" and a "restoration of calm".
Many activist groups had criticised Young's announcement of an Israeli concert, including a notable campaign by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. After Waters' letter to Young, sent via the singer's manager, received no response, Waters published it on his Facebook page. "Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young!" Waters wrote. "[Y]our songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and compassion for your fellow man and woman. I find it hard to believe that you would turn your back on the indigenous people of Palestine."
In announcing the Tel Aviv concert's cancellation, Young said that he and Crazy Horse would be making donations to two charities, Heartbeat and the Louise Tillie Alpert Youth Music Centre of Israel. These are "two organizations that teach music to Palestinian and Israeli youth simultaneously by enabling them to play music together," Young stated.
Young and Crazy Horse performed in London on 12 July, at Hyde Park. Their next scheduled date is in Istanbul on 15 July.
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