Amid disappointment over the cancellation of the friendly match between the Argentinian and Israeli national soccer teams, Israeli organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest, set to take place next year in Israel, expressed apprehension that this event, too, would not ultimately be held in Israel.
According to Yediot Aharonot, sources familiar with the matter said that members of the European Broadcasting Union made clear to their counterparts in Israel tasked with producing the event that there was “real danger” that Eurovision would not be held in Israel “if the politicians are adamant about getting involved.”
The sources noted that, during a recent meeting between European and Israeli broadcasting officials related to planning of the event, the Europeans demanded that at least two cities be proposed as possible locations to hold the song contest, as they sought a “non-divisive place” to host the event, in an apparent hit at Jerusalem.
“Our goal is that countries will not boycott the location of the event,” the European officials reportedly said.
So far, no other Israeli cities have submitted candidacy to host the event.
Culture Minister Miri Regev threatened that if the Eurovision contest is not held in Jerusalem, she will work to ensure that it is not held in Israel altogether.
“If they try to move the hosting of Eurovision from Jerusalem, I will ask the Prime Minister not to invest 50 million shekels, and to give up on hosting Eurovision in Israel,” she told Yediot Aharonot.
“There is no reason to invest 50 million shekels if we cannot show the beautiful faces of the State of Israel and our capital, Jerusalem.”
Regev elaborated that “Every country that hosts Eurovision uses it as a public relations tool, and without Jerusalem it’s not worth it for us to host it.”
“The European Broadcasting Union cannot establish for the State of Israel where to host Eurovision.”