EBU: Eurovision to take place in Israel as planned

Associate of European Broadcasting Union says officials assured him Eurovision will be held in Israel despite concern over funding.

Gary Willig ,

Netta Barzilai wins Eurovision
Netta Barzilai wins Eurovision
צילום: Andres Putting

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Israel despite concerns over a lack of funds, Yisrael Hayom reported Monday evening.

Alon Amir, an expert on Eurovision, a public relations manager and a close associate of the European Broadcasting Union, told the paper that he was told unequivocally that the competition would take place in Israel. "It would be unrealistic if we relinquished an event of such a scale that allows us to show the country from a different angle."

"Today, in the morning, when I spoke with senior members of the European Broadcasting Union, I was told unequivocally that the Eurovision 2019 will take place as planned in Israel," he added.

"I am not sitting in the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation here or in the Prime Minister's Office, but it does not occur to me that these two bodies do not understand the national and international importance of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

On Sunday, Israel Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) head Gil Omer warned Prime Minister Netanyahu that the corporation must secure a guarantee of 12 million euros ($13.7 million) or be forced to cancel the Eurovision contest.

Amir dismissed Omer's warning as "nothing more than an attempt to obtain political capital" from the prime minister to prevent the government from acting against the IBC. However, he also said that there was no reason the government should not help fund the holding of the contest, which would be a economic and public relations boon for the Jewish State.

"I'm betting that the Eurovision will take place in Israel. Really, you'd have to be extraordinarily stupid in order to give it up."