The sound of money

An unidentified source in the Tel Aviv Municipality is calling sums being paid to performers for the city's 100th birthday celebration "wasteful."

Tel Aviv is putting on one of its biggest and most expensive shows ever for the official opening of its 100th birthday celebrations on April 4 - and the NIS 4 million cost of the event is attracting criticism, reports The gala event in Kikar Rabin, which will last for about an hour, will feature performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the renowned Zubin Mehta, as well as by a line-up of popular musicians, including Berry Sakharof, Miri Mesika, Matti Caspi, Danny Robas and Dana International. According to the report, the committee organizing the celebrations is "continuing to scatter large sums around," with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to receive NIS 210,000 for its performance, and Sakharof and Mesika to receive NIS 40,000 each for performing just one song. The report said the event would also feature a multi-media laser light show and would conclude with a fireworks display. An unidentified source in the municipality was quoted as saying that the sums being paid to the performers were out of all proportion. "This is a recession year and there are cuts being made in many fields, including in the 100th birthday celebrations themselves in the areas of education and community," the source said. "This event is being done in a wasteful way. An appropriate event that would be remembered for years to come could have been put on easily for half the sum." The source added that other orchestras, such as the Cameri, would have cost far less than the Israel Philharmonic. The report said it was "absurd" that the birthday committee, which was responsible for managing tens of millions of shekels of taxpayers' money, was not subject to satisfactory public scrutiny, with the city council not involved in its decisions. The report also pointed out that musicians at last year's Independence Day celebrations received sums of NIS 45,000 to NIS 55,000 for performances lasting 40 minutes, and that Miri Mesika usually received NIS 55,000 to NIS 70,000 per concert, but here she was receiving almost the same amount for performing just one number.