Israel says working with Eurovision to ensure song will be permitted in contest

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel

Eden Golan (Shai Franco)
Eden Golan (Shai Franco)

Israel announces that it will be working with Eurovision organizers to ensure that one of its two contending songs be accepted to this year’s song contest, so that it can participate in the competition especially in a year when it has faced boycott calls.

The statement from the Kan public broadcaster comes after Israel’s participation was thrown into question when the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the annual competition, disqualified its submission for being too political, and Kan had originally stated that it would refuse to alter or change the song it submitted.

Kan now says, however, that it has accepted the position called for by President Isaac Herzog that “particularly at a time when those who hate us are trying to push us out and boycott the State of Israel on every stage, Israel must have its voice heard with its head raised high and fly its flag in every global forum, particularly this year.”

For months, some activists have called for Israel to be barred from the competition over growing international criticism of its war against Hamas in Gaza, although the EBU has repeatedly rejected such calls.

Kan says that it reached out to the writers of the two top songs, “October Rain” and “Dance Forever,” and asked them to “readjust the texts, with full artistic freedom,” so it can then choose one to send to the EBU, which will still have to approve the song. The EBU told The Times of Israel over the weekend only that “the EBU and KAN are still in the process of discussing their entry and that remains a confidential process until a final decision has been reached.”

Kan says that the song to be performed by Eden Golan in Malmo this year will be announced during a live broadcast on March 10.

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