Tel Aviv Eurovision fans decry juries’ snub of Israel as ‘obviously political’

People watch the final of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2024 at a bar in Tel Aviv on May 12, 2024 (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
People watch the final of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2024 at a bar in Tel Aviv on May 12, 2024 (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Music fans in Tel Aviv decry juries’ snubs of Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest as “obviously political.”

The mood was electric at the packed Layla bar in Tel Aviv as the show got underway, with the crowd going wild when Israel’s contestant Eden Golan appeared on screen.

But as votes started ticking in, and it became clear that few of the juries representing the 37 countries with voting rights were offering Golan even a handful of votes, spirits fell.

Fans went from jumping around and waving Israeli flags to sitting downcast, some with their heads in their hands.

“This is clearly political,” says Guy, a 20-year-old who declined to give his last name.

“Eden was amazing… But there are people who hate us. They don’t see the whole picture,” he says.

“We didn’t get much from the countries. That’s obviously a political thing,” Layla manager Tal Shur agrees.

“No one wants to show that they support us.”

While the country juries largely snubbed Israel, a separate and equally important vote by the public provided Israel with a massive boost, catapulting it to fifth place in the end.

When the public vote came in, the fans in Tel Aviv went wild again.

“It was amazing,” Shur says, hailing Golan’s performance as “perfect.”

“It was nice to see how people got emotional when she came on stage… She did something to us.”

“When Israel was given super-high points, I was feeling very happy because it’s (about) music,” not politics, says Nelly Bernardi, 41.

However, she tells AFP she found the first part of the voting “shameful”.

“The (jury) points were given in a political way… It was quite obvious.”

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