A gala concert in Washington marking Israel’s 55th anniversary, which was to feature several prominent entertainers but apparently not the leaders of the American and Israeli governments, has been postponed.
The Spirit of Israel Concert, sponsored by the newly formed Israel Forever Foundation, had been scheduled for Monday, May 19, in the capital’s 21,000-seat MCI Center. It will be held Thursday, Dec. 18, the night before Chanukah starts.
The organizers postponed the event at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is to meet President Bush Tuesday in Washington, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
"We cannot have a party while these negotiations are going on," JTA quoted an official "familiar with the discussions" as saying.
A statement issued by Jeanne Ellinport, executive director of the Israel Forever Foundation, thanked "all of the people who have supported this event," but did not give a reason for the change in dates. It was not because of low ticket sales, she told The Jewish Week, declining to say how many tickets had been sold.
But an insider in Washington’s Jewish community, calling the concert high-priced and "a little bit ill-conceived," said "apparently they didn’t sell enough tickets." Ticket prices for the event, which was to include appearances by Jerry Seinfeld, Norah Jones and Tony Bennett, ranged from $75 to $1,000.
"It was never clear how much of an appearance any of the stars were going to make," the Washington insider said.
"It was unclear whether Sharon would attend," JTA reported. According to an earlier JTA story, the White House said President Bush had not been invited and would not attend.