The Shalva Band, which is made up of eight adults with disabilities including Down syndrome, Autism, and various physical handicaps, is expected to withdraw from the Channel 12 competition “Rising Star”, in which Israel’s representative for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is selected.
According to a report on Sunday in the Israel Hayom newspaper, the show’s producers approached the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is in charge of Eurovision, and requested that the band members, some of whom are religious, be permitted to pre-record their song for a rehearsal on the Friday before the contest and in the general rehearsal on the Saturday of the contest, and thus prevent desecration of the Sabbath.
However, according to the report, a source in the EBU said that all performances by all the representatives must be live, even for the audience in the studio. Those who cannot guarantee that they will be able to perform live cannot take part in the competition.
A production official with “Rising Star” noted that attempts were still being made to solve the problem, but as the Israeli request was rejected, the band's path to the Eurovision Song Contest is expected to end soon anyway, since they will not be able to keep Shabbat if they win the competition.
The EBU said that “every media outlet must comply with the rules of competition in a comprehensive manner and in accordance with existing rules. These rules include a mandatory presence in all live rehearsals and performances, and applies to all members of the delegation and contestants. Any request to deviate from the rules shall be considered in accordance with the possible impact of the deviation on the participants, the delegations, the competition itself or the audience. "
In addition, the EBU stressed that "no decision will be made on the basis of a hypothetical situation, but only on an official request."
The report comes a day after the band advanced to the finals of “Rising Star”.
Last week, leading Israeli television personality Guy Pines urged the EBU to be flexible and allow the members of the band to prerecord their song so they are not forced to desecrate Shabbat.
“They’re so engaged with slogans about diversity and promotion and tolerance in the world. That’s also part of it – permitting religious people to take part,” he said.