Golan reaches the heights! Israel's Eurovision champion returns home proud and resilient

Eden Golan defied hate and came fifth after huge swing in public vote for Israel


A heroes welcome: Eden Golan arrives back in Israel after representing the country at Eurovision (Photo: X)

Israel’s Eurovision singer Eden Golan returned to a hero’s welcome in Israel on Sunday, fresh off her triumphant performance at the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night in Malmö, Sweden.

The 20-year-old singer won hearts worldwide with her poise under pressure from anti-Israel protesters who sought to have her excluded from the singing competition.

Golan finished in fifth place with her song “Hurricane,” winning a staggering 323 points from the public – including 12 from UK viewers – and scored the second most public votes of any competitor.

The Israel social media page congratulated “Queen Eden” on her success, tweeting “Thank you Eden for giving our entire country strength. Thank you world for proving love will always win against hate.”

The Israeli singer left Malmö under armed guard hours after the competition and posted a video of disembarking from an aeroplane in Israel waving the country’s flag. The singer, from Kfar Saba, was filmed cheering as friends and family greeted her.

Stepping off the plane, Golan said, “It is a huge privilege that I am here and that I had the opportunity to represent our country, especially in moments like this, and that I represented the country and was the voice for everyone who needs to be sent home now”.

She wrote: "I dedicate my participation in the ESC to the voices we can't hear, the hostages - we are desperately waiting for you all to return home.”

“And I got to represent everyone who has fallen […] Thank you, I felt everyone’s love and support. Just thanks,” she said.

"To say it was easy would be a lie, but with your support and love it gave me the strength to continue and put on the absolute best performance I knew I could.”

Before Golan’s performance, Hollywood actress Gal Gadot called the singer to wish her luck and praised her for standing strong against hatred: “I wanted to call you and tell you that it’s incredible that at your age you’re standing tall and strong and not letting anything get to you.”

“The strength you have is incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. Let the haters hate. The best way to fight them is with love — go and love, love, love,” the Wonder Woman actress added.

With tensions running high in Malmö, Golan was guarded by armed officers from Sweden's security service and Israel’s Shin Bet security agency.

Enormous protests in the Swedish city erupted over Israel’s inclusion in the competition. Clashes broke out with riot police outside the arena on Saturday, and dozens of protesters, including Greta Thunberg, were detained by Swedish authorities.

During Golan’s performance, loud boos could be heard from the crowd, but these were muted by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for television viewers.

BBC commentator Graham Norton said Golan had been met with a “mixed” reaction: “In some of the open rehearsals we heard more booing, but there was quite a lot of cheering tonight as well and I should tell you that that song is tipped to do very well tonight.”

Testing Eurovision’s slogan, “united by music,” several of Golan’s fellow singers were involved in a series of controversial incidents which targeted the Israeli delegation.

Irish entrant Bambi Thug missed their dress rehearsal after demanding Golan be excluded from the competition.

In an expletive-filled post-competition interview, Thug fumed “F**k the EBU. I don’t even care anymore. F**k them.”

“The top six, minus one, are all freedom fighters,” they told Sky News.

The self-proclaimed “Ouija popstar” said, “Now that I'm free I can talk about everything. Kan, the broadcaster, incited violence against me twice, three times.”

Thug accused Israel’s state broadcaster, Kan, of inciting violence when the channel told viewers that Ireland’s entry was “the most scary” of the night and they should “prepare their curses” for Thug’s Satanic-styled song “Doomsday Blue.”

Thug’s team were separated from the Israeli delegation inside the arena.

Despite EBU’s ban on Palestinian symbols, both Thug and Portugal’s Iolanda sported nail styles with Palestinian signs. Thug had keys on her nails, while Iolanda’s depicted the keffiyeh design.

Meanwhile, Greece's representative Marina Satti pretended to fall asleep when Golan was questioned during a press conference.

Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands refused to announce their jury scores on television.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive