This piece first appeared on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.
JERUSALEM – Usually, there is an explosion of culture in Jerusalem in the summer. But with Hamas striking Israel with hundreds of rockets and missiles daily, popular arts events in the country’s capital have had to be cancelled or postponed.
When the current war with Hamas broke out early Tuesday, Jerusalemites were not particularly fearful of rockets landing in their city. While one or two sirens went off in Jerusalem during Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012, the capital was largely spared from missile fire. However, when the wailing siren sounded and was followed by three explosions on Tuesday night, residents realized that things may actually be different this time.
Within minutes of the attack on Jerusalem, authorities ordered that the concert by Israeli rocker Berry Sakharof taking place that evening at the outdoor Sultan’s Pool venue just outside the walls of the Old City be stopped and its 6,000 attendees immediately evacuated.
Large outdoor gatherings, which are traditional during cool Jerusalem summer evenings, are problematic security-wise at a time like this. People have at most a minute and a half to reach shelter when a air raid siren goes off, making it difficult — if not impossible — to hold such events safely.
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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.