Neil Young Cancels Tel Aviv Concert Amid Hostilities

Neil Young Stage - P 2012
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Neil Young Stage - P 2012

In the wake of escalating tension and rocket attacks throughout Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Neil Young and Crazy Horse have confirmed that their scheduled Thursday concert in Tel Aviv is officially off.

Citing security issues as the reason, a spokesperson for Young's camp said in a statement Sunday: "It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we must cancel our one and only Israeli concert due to tensions which have rendered the event unsafe at this time. We'll miss the opportunity to play for our fans and look forward to playing in Israel and Palestine in peace."

"I will be making donations to both the Louise Tillie Alpert Youth Music Centre of Israel, and Heartbeat, two organizations that teach music to Palestinian and Israeli youth simultaneously by enabling them to play music together," Young said. 

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Despite incessant strain on behalf of a vocal Palestinian advocate, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters — who in January penned an open letter to Young urging him to join a boycott of Israel — Young's last-minute cancelation does not appear to be influenced by politics.

Over the weekend, there were initial reports in Israel of a postponed date to be announced, yet the statement did not include any mention of that. Local leading promoter Shuki Weiss issued a short statement earlier Sunday, saying: "It is with great sorrow we announce the cancellation of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's scheduled concert for Thursday in Park Ha'Yarkon."

This would have been Young's second visit to Israel. Back in 1995, he performed alongside Pearl Jam in the Holy Land, replacing Eddie Vedder on vocals as part of a string of concerts throughout Europe in support of their joint album Mirror Ball, with fans referring to the collaboration as "Neil Jam."

With the majority of local artists continuing to cancel their shows, the next few days will be crucial for promoters responsible for upcoming visits by veteran crooner Paul Anka and Backstreet Boys, both still scheduled to arrive for multiple concerts in Israel on the last week of July.