Eurovision wants a Shabbat-friendly microphone

Song contest wants Tzomet institute to give them Shabbat-approved microphone so a viral special-needs band can perform.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Eurovision logo
Eurovision logo
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Israel-based organizers of the Eurovision song contest have asked the Tzomet Institute to assist them avoid Shabbat desecration in order to let a viral band comprised of special needs Israelis.

The Tzomet Institute which innovates technological solutions to questions in Jewish law has in the past invented a special microphone that doesn't cause the user to desecrate Shabbat, but it is allowed only in the case of medical need.

The Shalva Band, which is composed of eight adults with disabilities including Down syndrome, Autism, and various physical handicaps, has become one of the favorites to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Tel Aviv in May.

The band has continued to advance in the Channel 12 television show “Rising Star” (Hakochav Haba in Hebrew), an Israeli interactive reality singing competition whose winner is given the opportunity to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, Yediot Aharonot reported on Monday, the band is considering quitting the program. The reason for this is that three of its members are Shabbat observant and the band fears that, if it wins the competition and is chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest, its members will be forced to violate the Sabbath due to the intensive rehearsals for the contest that require work on Shabbat.

As such, Eurovision officials requested that the Tzomet Institute provide for them the aforementioned microphone to enable the Shalva Band to perform. Their request was rebuffed by Tzomet rabbis, who said that rehearsals held on Shabbat itself would involve massive Shabbat desecration on the part of the many employees who would be forced to work on the Jewish Day of Rest.

"We refused to give him a helping hand although he might have reduced the Sabbath desecration of the band members because it might be interpreted as giving legitimacy to the matter," they said, alluding to the workers who would end up desecrating the holy day.

Tzomet also refused to create a special Shabbat-friendly loudspeaker for the Eurovision's audio crew to use.

Israel won the right to host Eurovision in 2019 after Netta Barzilai’s victory in last year’s edition of the song contest.

The final round of the Eurovision Song Contest airs on television after the conclusion of Shabbat, but is preceded by a marathon of rehearsals which includes the recording of the entire contest in the event of a technical malfunction that will prevent the live broadcast from airing.

The song contest's rampant Shabbat desecration has already made Omar Adam, arguably Israel's most popular pop star, to drop out of consideration earlier this month. "Omer Adam received an offer to participate in the Eurovision 2019. After a meeting between the parties, and in view of the fact that the general rehearsals take place during the Sabbath, Omer decided not to take part in the event," confirmed Adam's publicist.




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