ISRAEL 🇮🇱 The government will not intervene in determining the location of next year’s Eurovision song contest, according to a report Sunday, amid fears that ministers could torpedo’s Israel’s chance at hosting the event if they insist on holding it in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Kan public broadcaster is tasked with organizing the 2019 contest, but politicians have insisted that the venue be in the capital despite reports that some countries or artists could balk at taking part out of concerns of politicizing the event.
The decision for the government to back off was made during a telephone meeting on Friday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the Channel 20 news station reported Sunday.
The European Broadcasting Union, charged with producing the event together with local member Kan, has said it will not object to Jerusalem being the chosen venue, so long as a proper tender has taken place, Channel 20 reported.
Last week, the EBU told Kan it was worried about politicization of the event.
In secret meetings, officials reportedly said they were worried that several countries may boycott the event if it is held in Jerusalem.
They demanded that at least two Israeli cities submit tenders to host the competition, hinting that Jerusalem was not their preferred choice, according to a report in the Ynet news website.
“Our goal is that countries do not boycott the venue,” the Europeans told the Israelis.
Next week, Kan is expected to make presentations to the EBU for each city vying for hosting rights.
According to Ynet, the EBU is looking for a city with at least 3,000 hotel rooms and a concert venue that can hold at least 10,000 people. Since 1999, when the event was held at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, all contests have taken place in large arenas.