About 200 Bnei Akiva youth and instructors from 15 cities in Europe will compete Sunday night in the annual 'Jewish Eurovision' contest, held this year in Rome. One of the songs - to be performed by the delegation from Helsinki, Finland - was written in memory of the five members of the Fogel family who were recently murdered by terrorists in Itamar.
After meeting the mayor of Rome at the Arch of Titus, the youths will mount the stage to take part in the contest. Besides Finland, contestants this year come from Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and France. They will all perform songs they have written themselves. This year, the common theme of the songs is "On a Mission from Israel," which refers to the Bnei Akiva members as emissaries of Israel throughout the world.
All songs must include some words in Hebrew. Songs with more Hebrew in them have a greater chance of receiving high scores from the judges.
The Jewish European youth will stay in Italy for Shabbat, experience leadership workshops and learn how to be "Emissaries for Israel" worldwide. On Saturday evening they will visit the Arch of Titus in central Rome and take part in a special ceremony in the Colosseum, in which Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno will be the guest of honor.
Two delegations - Helsinki and Milan - received permission to write songs that stray from the common theme, and both are about Israeli heroes. The Milan team will sing a song in memory of Major Ro'i Klein, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War. The Helsinki team's song, about the Fogel family, was inspired by the knowledge that Tamar Fogel was saved from the terrible fate of her parents, brothers and sister because she was attending a Bnei Akiva activity when terrorists invaded her family's home.
"We are proud to present the movement's members, who have been emissaries for Israel for over 80 years, all over the world," said Ze'ev Schwartz, Director of World Bnei Akiva.