70 arrested for drug possession at festival in Beit Shean

Outdoor festival described as “three days of celebration on three stages of live music, alternative treatments and ecological awareness.”

Police arrested 70 concert-goers for drug possession at a three-day concert held over the weekend next to the Jordan River outside Beit Shean, and opened nearly 100 criminal cases following the arrests.
A spokesman for the police told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that those charged at the Indigo Festival were in possession of “light” drugs such as hashish, and that virtually none of them had prior criminal records.
The spokesman said the arrests were not part of a large-scale operation but that police had “deployed at the concert to protect the peace of the festival participants.”
The spokesman added that police had been on the lookout for drunk drivers at the end of the concert, and said that such events, attended by large numbers of people, presented an elevated risk of alcohol-related violence.
The spokesman added, however, that none of those arrested face charges for alcohol related offenses, violence or disturbing the peace.
The Indigo Festival’s Web site describes it as “three days of celebration on three stages of live music, alternative treatments, workshops, artists’ markets [...] and ecological awareness.”
An employee of Huga park, where the festival was held, said that the arrests managed to put a damper on the event. She said that media coverage of the arrests gave the appearance that the festival was some sort of drug-fueled gathering of criminals, while according to her it was “a peaceful gathering attended by several thousand people that will instead be remembered by many for the arrest of 70 people.”
“This was an event that brought together people from across Israel and tourists from around the world to enjoy all types of music and culture. I saw police shouting in Hebrew at a female tourist caught by police smoking a joint. She didn’t understand a word they were saying.
“There were other tourists who came for the festival who, unfortunately, will remember things like this from their time in Israel. It’s very sad,” she added.