Israeli pop star Omer Adam has refused to perform at this year's Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv due to fears that he would be forced to desecrate Shabbat.
Israel won the right to host Eurovision in 2019 after Netta Barzilai’s victory in last year’s edition of the song contest. Festival organizers had approached Adam, arguably Israel's most popular music star, and began negotiating for him to open the festivities.
Adam refused, however, after hearing that he would have to rehearse on Shabbat before the competition opened. "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.
Adam has consistently ranked among Israel's most popular singers but has been making waves in recent years for his increasingly religious lifestyle. While Adam was known to be traditional, his newfound observance of Jewish law first became prominent after he refused to perform at a music festival on Hanukkah in 2017 despite being offered 1 million shekels because he did not want to desecrate Shabbat.
Despite event organizers doubling his salary, Adam reportedly said that "no amount of money will ever cause me to violate Shabbat." A growing number of secular Israeli artists have announced their unwillingness to perform on Shabbat in recent years, including Yuval Dayan, Keren Peles, and Natan Goshen.