Crossing the great divide

Gad Elbaz and a host of name guests perform for a diverse audience in Caesarea - with three sets of seating

Gad Elbaz 224-88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gad Elbaz 224-88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It will be a meeting of two worlds tomorrow night when popular singer Gad Elbaz makes a triumphant return to Israel at the Caesarea amphitheater. The 26-year-old religiously observant phenomenon has spent the last year attempting to launch his career in the US, but in the meantime his new album in Hebrew, Between the Raindrops, is proving to be a big hit here, crossing over from its traditional playlists on stations such as Radio Kol Chai to mainstream Galgalatz. One of the few Israeli performers who crosses over between observant and secular barriers, Elbaz will be performing at Caesarea with guests Shlomo Gronich, Shlomi Shabat, Harel Moyal, and his father, veteran Mizrahi singer Benny Elbaz. "My goal is to bring people together," Elbaz told The Jerusalem Post, "not to create barriers." Elbaz gained notoriety three years ago when rabbis attempted to prevent him from performing shows due to his markedly secular stage swagger and matinee idol looks, which prompted many young religious female fans to hang his posters on their walls. Elbaz said there is no longer any problem with religious authorities who fear he is corrupting young female fans. His solution to accommodating both religious and secular fans? One section of the Caesarea amphitheater is designated for males, another for couples, families and friends, and the third for females - most of whom will undoubtedly be shrieking at the sight of the Israeli Elvis.