Shalva Band
Shalva BandRonen Ackerman

The Shalva Band, previously considered a favorite to represent Israel in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest that will take place this year in Tel Aviv, announced Tuesday that its decision not to compete in the Eurovision contest was final.

The leaders of the band made the decision in light of the concern that they would be forced to violate Shabbat during the competition. The band, as well as Israeli politicians, petitioned the European Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) to amend its guidelines so that Shalva would not have to violate Shabbat. However, the EBC refused to budge or make any accommodations for the band members' religious beliefs.

A source in the European Broadcasting Corporation said earlier this week that all singers at the competition were committed to perform live, even for the audience at the studio. Those who could not do so would not be allowed to compete.

"Every media channel must comply with the rules of competition in a comprehensive manner and in accordance with existing rules, which include a mandatory presence in all live rehearsals and performances, and applies to all members of the delegation and contestants. The deviation from the participants, the delegations, the competition itself or the audience. "

In addition, the union stressed that "no decision will be made on the basis of a hypothetical situation, but only on an official request."

The Shalva Band made their international debut in 2017. It is composed of eight Israeli musicians with physical and mental disabilities such as Down syndrome, Autism and various challenges.

Three members of the band are Orthodox.