ISRAEL – Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev expressed her objections on Thursday over the the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announcement that the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv and not in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem as had been previously planned.
“As I said from the very beginning, I thought it was right that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, host the Eurovision,” said the Likud minister following the final decision on the location of the contest, the final of which will take place on May 18 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
Israel has pushed to have the competition held in Jerusalem, which the United States has recognized as its capital, and in May moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
While it has long urged the world to recognize the city as its united capital, and more recently called on countries to follow the US lead in moving their embassies, almost all have refused, insisting that the final status of Jerusalem should be decided through peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in a photo finish against Cyprus, netting the country its fourth ever win and the right to host next year’s contest. “Next time in Jerusalem!” Netta shouted in her post-win interview.
Despite her disappointment with the decision, Minister Regev said that she had no doubt that the State of Israel and Tel Aviv would host the Eurovision “in the best and most respectable manner.”
“I wish much success to the Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) that has confidence in the production and wish, of course, success for the Israeli performance that will represent us in the competition,” she said.
With the EBU’s announcement, Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, said “we expect to receive assurances this week from the prime minister about security, accessibility for everyone participating, freedom of speech and assurances that the competition will be of an apolitical nature.”