JERUSALEM POST REPORTS / ISRAEL – After a harsh warning from the European Broadcasting Union, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up late Monday night to provide necessary security funding in order for Eurovision preparations to continue.
The Prime Minister’s Office told the KAN public broadcaster late Monday evening that it would provide missing funds in order to allow police to restart inspection of Eurovision equipment immediately. KAN said the transfer will enable work to begin Tuesday morning at the Expo Tel Aviv.
“The Eurovision in Israel is a national event with exposure to more than 200 million viewers,” KAN said late Monday. “We welcome this solution and we are continuing our momentum in producing the Eurovision, and will work to make up for the delay in the timetable, so that everyone will enjoy a praiseworthy Israeli Eurovision.”
Construction of the Eurovision stage and infrastructure was halted Monday morning after police stopped their inspections due to missing funds. While four government ministries had agreed last week to split the cost of security for the international competition in Tel Aviv in May, the transfer was not complete.
Last week, the ministries of Public Security, Tourism, Communications and Finance (the Treasury) came to an agreement with the KAN public broadcaster to split the NIS 7.5 million cost of securing the competition, contributing NIS 1.5m. each to the security budget.
Channel 12 News reported Monday evening that the Tourism Ministry was the body that was withholding its funding.
On Monday morning, Eurovision Song Contest chairman Frank-Dieter Freiling and executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand wrote a biting letter to Netanyahu urging the government rectify the delay immediately.
“Without a rapid turnaround of this instruction, the delays entailed by the absence of this essential security measure will have severe and significant negative consequences on the ability to hold the rehearsals on time and thus on the budget and on the quality of the shows that will be broadcast out of Tel Aviv,” they wrote. They added that the consequences of further delays “could be disastrous for the Eurovision Song Contest and Israel.”