ISRAEL – We managed to search and find exclusive footage from our cameras during the moment the fans stormed the delegations block during our departure from Rabin Square. On April 10th after the live show ended the organisers walked us through a safe passage behind the city hall to enter the safe parking lot and part for our hotel. But the fans spotted Netta and the Spanish duo, Alfred & Amaia and followed us.
To be honest the panic of the organisers was somehow unnecessary as the fans never threatened our security as the only thing they wanted was to greet the Eurostars and get a quick selfie with them. Of course you never know what might have happened as in these cases you only need one asshole to create a mess. The organisers shouted out immediately to walk back on the stairs and enter the main city hall premises where we were waiting for half an hour for the police to intervene.
Somehow we all felt like rock stars but there was never a single moment for someone to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I think we all kinda loved that and this incident gave a sparkle two the glamorous event Israel Calling is, after all.
It was undoubtedly Netta’s moment, as Israelis consider her their ticket to the dream of winning the Eurovision Song Contest, 40 years after their first ever victory and 20 years since their last victory with Dana International.
Police estimation to the press was that the audience in Rabin Square was 20,000+, delegations estimate (on their own non-scientific way) that they think there were around 10,000 people and official organisers estimate 20-25,000 people in the area. No matter which is the real number the truth is that it is 15-20 times more, the 1999 Jerusalem Eurovision Song Contest edition. A fact that undoubtedly no one thought that Israel could pull through especially with all these considerations regarding security.
It was also funny to see some delegations to try to appease the fans throwing from tee city hall main premises balcony, CDs to the fans so they can have a compensation for the mess created that night. It was clear to us that delegations never tried to avoid the audience and play the “diva style” behaviour. Instead the were all seeking publicity in a way that can bring the fans and the artists together to interact.
Rabin Square is a large public city square in the center of Tel Aviv, Israel. Over the years it has been the site of numerous political rallies, parades, and other public events. In 1995 the square was renamed ‘Rabin Square’ following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin which occurred there on November 4 of that year. The square is surrounded by the city hall building to the north (designed by the architect Menachem Cohen), Ibn Gabirol Street to the east, Frischmann Street to the south and Hen Boulevard to the west. It was designed alongside the city hall in 1964 by architects Yaski and Alexandroni.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s a great deal of criticism had been voiced about the Square’s appearance, most directed at the City Hall building. What in the 1960s was one of the city’s biggest and most impressive architectural designs came to be considered by critics as one of the city’s worst eyesores. Plans have been made (most of which have even been approved) to renovate the whole square and City Hall. These include giving City Hall a more modern look to fit in with the many new skyscrapers in Tel Aviv, and the construction of a large underground parking complex underneath the square to alleviate the lack of parking in the area. Opposition to the renovation plans mostly centers around arguments that the design of the square and City Hall are part of Tel Aviv’s history and should be preserved. As a result of this opposition, major reconstruction has been delayed. However, in 2010 a minor renovation project was carried out, in which an ecological water pool was constructed near the Holocaust commemorative monument, and around it a deck with a recreational area.