The British synth-pop trio Depeche Mode may have achieved prominence with the 1981 single “Just Can’t Get Enough,” but a Tel Aviv concert by the band, planned for August 3 — which coincides this year with the fast day Tisha B’Av — has one member of the Knesset crying, “Too Much!”
Nissan Slomiansky, a member of the Knesset with the National Union-National Religious Party, has expressed dismay over the event, which, though scheduled for the Ninth of Av, is slated to begin only after dark, when the day’s fast is complete. “It distresses me that specifically on a day of national mourning, Israeli promoters decided to bring a rock group to perform in Israel,” Slomiansky said. “I expect them to announce that there was a mistake and the date of the concert will be changed.” Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, in 586 BCE and 70 C.E., respectively.
Strictly speaking, there are no legal grounds for a canceling the concert. Israel’s Tisha B’Av closing laws, established in 1997 to ensure that entertainment venues shut their doors for the holiday, do not extend to the hours after sunset. Nevertheless, Slomiansky has argued that the concert, if held as planned, would violate the day’s spirit. “It’s upsetting morally,” he said. “It disrupts the day.”
The firm promoting the concert seems unbowed, saying that after the Tisha B’Av fast ends, “life goes back to normal.” The firm assured the Shmooze that “before the mourning day ends, not a single tone will be heard.”
The concert, the final stop of a 20-country tour, would be the band’s first-ever Israeli engagement.