ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Israel sending Eden Golan, 20, to represent country at Eurovision 2024 in Sweden

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

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

Israel chooses to send Eden Golan, 20, from Tel Aviv, to represent the country at the 2024 Eurovision, as contest organizers continue to face widespread calls to bar the Jewish state from taking part amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

At the finale of a war-delayed and altered season of “Hakochav Haba” (Rising Star), Golan beats out finalists Or Cohen, Mika Moshe and Dor Shimon to take the top prize and be able to compete on the grand stage in Malmo, Sweden, later this year.

For her final song tonight, Golan sang “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith, which she said is dedicated to all those longing for their loved ones to be home, including the hostages remaining in Gaza. Wearing a yellow hostage pin, Golan performed the song surrounded by empty chairs on stage as a tribute to those missing.

“I want to stand in front of all of Europe and raise up our nation,” says Golan during the show. “I was born in Israel and I only feel truly at home here. There is nothing that would make me more excited in the world than to represent our nation this year at Eurovision.”

Golan lived in Russia with her family for 13 years, returning to Israel around two years ago.

The song for this year’s competition will be selected next month, and the Kan public broadcaster, which is responsible for Israel’s participation, says that this year the song must include some Hebrew lyrics, “in light of the complicated period.”

As Israel faces criticism around the world over its ongoing campaign against Hamas in Gaza, some have called to bar the country from the competition, although the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the contest, has repeatedly stated that Israel will still be allowed to compete.

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