The gap between the center and the “periphery” — a term that is increasingly used to refer to pretty much everywhere in Israel except Tel Aviv and its surroundings — is growing, at least economically. But happily, the cultural divide may be starting to narrow.
Two weeks ago, Tel Aviv didn’t sleep — it held its “White Night” of nocturnal events. Today, four other cities will prove that they, too, know how to pull an all-nighter and will benefit from 2.4 million ($685,000) of Culture Ministry funding to get the party started.
There will be concerts, discos and performances until the early hours in Beersheba, Ashdod, Tiberius and Netanya. And the schedules are impressively varied, driving home the message that the arts have something to offer for everyone. Beersheba plans to feature every kind of music from Beatles tributes to funk; Ashdod offers orchestras and circus acts within earshot of each other. Tiberius, which, despite the party boats on the Sea of Galilee, is often pretty quiet, boasts the Hadag Nahash, the hugely popular Israeli hip-hop and funk band buoyed after a high-profile Jerusalem gig with Matisyahu. The lineup in Netanya has everything from the Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra performing with three tenors to “DJ Yahel” with a noisy party for teens.
In a nice touch, the White Night events have been scheduled for a few days before the Three Weeks, a mourning period, beginning on Tuesday, during which Orthodox Jews don’t go to concerts. It seems that the arts in Israel really are becoming more inclusive.