JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israelis had become used to seeing American and European rockersjamming on local stages over the last decade. But nearly a year of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshedhas cast a pall on this summer's concert schedule.
"It's pretty bad," said Alex Knyaziker, 26, from Jerusalem, who had hoped to see British rockband Depeche Mode in Tel Aviv before the planned November 1 show was scrapped. "Everybody cancels. The question is if someone will come."
The most awaited concert of the season, a performance by Los Angeles rock band Red Hot ChiliPeppers, was to have taken place this week, but the band dropped out, fearing the crowd in TelAviv's 40,000-seat stadium could become the target of a bomb attack.
Among other recent cancellations were American jazz singer Mose Allison and the Britishpercussion group Stomp, popular for its drumming on buckets and metal trash cans.
Rock music lovers have been forced to travel far afield to hear their favorite bands. Knyazikerplans to travel next month to see Depeche Mode in Hamburg, Germany, and the band's 1,000-member fan club in Israel has organized a trip to the group's October 30 performance in Istanbul,Turkey.
About 15,000 Israeli fans had already bought tickets for the Red Hot Chili Peppers show, whichhad been planned for August 28 at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park.
Organizers said the band canceled out of fears for the crowd's safety. Fears of attacks increasedin June, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of young Israeliswaiting to get into a Tel Aviv disco, killing 21 of them.
Amid the dearth of foreign performers, Israelis are turning out for homegrown acts.
"There is a lot of cultural activity in Israel and anyone who goes out at night can see thateverything is full," said Moshe Fogel, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture. "The Red HotChili Peppers is not at the center of Israeli culture."
But some fans are getting tired of the local fare.
"I need to see something not Israeli for once," said Abigail Posem, 25, of Tel Aviv, who hadbeen hoping to go to the Chili Peppers concert.
Last weekend's 15th annual Red Sea Jazz Festival in the southern resort town of Eilat attractedsome big names, including American bassist Ron Carter and the New Orleans group Take 6.
But many performers insisted on going straight to Eilat without the overnight stay in Tel Aviv topromote the show.
A few musicians have been unfazed by the recent unrest. American singer Rickie Lee Jones sangin Tel Aviv in March, and jazz drummer Max Roach toured the country to jam with Arab and Jewish musicians.
July's prestigious Israel Festival also went well, with 29 of the 30 scheduled acts showing up.
The only cancellation was New York City's Bill T. Jones-Arnie Zane Dance Company. Festivalorganizers said the troupe, which included many teen-agers, dropped out after performers'parents voiced concerns.
Film and cultural festivals have continued as planned throughout the summer, despite thecancellation of some top foreign acts. And cultural officials say they're confident things willeventually return to normal.
"Things like this have happened in the past," said Moran Paz, organizer for the Eilat festival."Israel has gone through many wars. And always things stabilize afterward."