Official warns Israelis traveling to Sweden for Eurovision to hide their identity

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Red paint is seen on a Eurovision sign in Malmo, Sweden, on March 11, 2024, after it was vandalized in a protest against Israel. (SVT screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Red paint is seen on a Eurovision sign in Malmo, Sweden, on March 11, 2024, after it was vandalized in a protest against Israel. (SVT screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

Israelis traveling to Malmo, Sweden, for the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest should take care to hide their identity, an Israeli official says.

“We are not saying not to travel there, but those who travel should not display their Zionism,” says the official during a briefing to Israeli reporters on new travel warnings issued ahead of the Passover holiday.

“They shouldn’t walk around with little Israeli flags,” the official explains, adding that there are no specific threats right now.

“You can speak Hebrew with each other, but you don’t have to shout to family or friends at the other end of the street.”

The official says that the Eurovision site itself will be secure, but that Malmo is “an unfriendly area for Israelis.”

The music contest will take place starting on May 5. Israeli singer Eden Golan will compete in the annual song contest, after months of uncertainty over Israel’s participation amid protests and accusations of politicization.

File: Eden Golan, winner of the reality show ‘The Next Star to the Eurovision’ during the final of the show on February 6, 2024. (Koko/Flash90)

The National Security Council, which issued the updated warnings today, is also looking ahead to the Euro soccer championships in Germany and the 2024 Paris Olympics as events that thousands of Israelis will travel to.

Jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS could target those events, says the official, or could specifically attack Jews and Israelis there.

The primary threats, says the NSC warning, is Iran and its proxies. Dozens of such terror attempts to target Israelis and Jews have been foiled around the world in recent years, says the NSC.

“What has been published is just the tip of the iceberg,” explains the official, referring to attempts to kill Israelis in Cyprus, Greek and Turkey.

Hamas is also trying to target Israelis and Jews abroad during the ongoing war in Gaza, according to the NSC warnings. In December 2023, a Hamas terror network in northern Europe was uncovered.

There are growing attempts during the war by global jihadist organizations to inspire lone attackers to target Jews, according to the travel warnings.

The NSC underscores four countries with which Israel maintains diplomatic ties as destinations “that should be avoided at the current time”: Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt, including the Sinai peninsula, a popular holiday destination for Israelis over Passover.

The official says Israel is not considering closing the crossing into Egypt, but will do so in the case of a specific threat.

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