Israel selects Eurovision contestant amid calls for boycott

20 year old, Eden Golan was picked by Israeli TV viewers to attend this year’s event in Sweden


The Israeli public has selected 20 year old Eden Golan to represent Israel at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo. 

Golan, who was born in Israel but raised in Russia, won the Kokhav Haba (a star is coming) competition on Israeli TV, beating out other contestants from across Israel with her rendition of Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t wanna miss a thing’ which she dedicated to hostages held in Gaza, saying: “We won't truly be OK until everyone returns home.”

Speaking after her win, Golan said: "It's a dream, in particular this year, when it has even more meaning,"

"It's to show the whole world who we really are, and to bring our country in three minutes to the stage, and to show our emotion and our strength and our people - that we are here, forever, together."

Golan triumphed over finalists Or Cohen, Mika Moshe and Dor Shimon in the contest, the finale of which was delayed due to the war. Another participant, 26-year-old Shaul Greenglick, dropped out of the contest due to reserve duty in Gaza, and was killed fighting on December 26.

His family paid tribute to Greenglick on the finale of the show, as well as three other contestants who auditioned before being killed at the Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7. 

Golan will not be the only Israeli contestant at this year’s Eurovision, with singer  Tali Golergant representing Luxembourg in the competition. Golergant, the daughter of a Peruvian Jewish father and Israeli mother, was selected as the first Eurovision entrant fot the country since 1993. 

In the wake of Golan’s selection, several countries have called for boycott of the competition if Israel is not disqualified. 

RÚV director Stefán Eiríksson told the JC that the broadcasting service has received three petitions from musicians and composers, signed by members of the public, which urged RÚV to “request that Israel will not participate in Eurovision and for RÚV and Iceland to boycott Eurovision if Israel will participate.”

Musicians in Denmark, Norway and Sweden have also echoed these calls, while Eurovision organisers have resisted.

Noel Curran, the director general of the European Broadcasting Union said in a statement: "Comparisons between wars and conflicts are complex and difficult and, as a non-political media organization, not ours to make," 

"We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East,” but Eurovision is, he said, "not a contest between governments".

"The EBU is aligned with other international organizations, including sports unions and federations and other international bodies, that have similarly maintained their inclusive stance towards Israeli participants in major competitions at this time," 

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