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Host Eurovision In Jerusalem Or Don’t Have It At All, Israeli Officials Say

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel should withdraw as host of the Eurovision song contest if it is not held in Israel, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said.

“I will recommend to the government that if the Eurovision is not in Jerusalem, then it wouldn’t be right to host it,” she told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan on Thursday morning.

Her statement came a day after Argentina’s national soccer team cancelled a friendly match in Jerusalem over pressure and physical threats from pro-Palestinian groups.

“It will cost Israel NIS 50 million ($14 million) and is designed to market the country. So I personally say, if the Eurovision won’t be held in Jerusalem, it’s not right to invest the NIS 50 million in public funds,” Regev told the public broadcaster.

Israel won the 2018 contest on May 19 with the song “Toy” by Netta Barzilai. According to the annual competition’s rules, the winning country hosts the following year’s contest. Shortly after the victory both Barzilai and Regev said the competition would be held in Jerusalem.

Israel has hosted the Eurovision contest twice before in Jerusalem, a city that most countries do not recognize as Israel’s capital.

A senior source at Israel’s Kan public broadcast corporation told Haaretz on Wednesday that officials at the European Broadcast Union were unhappy that Regev, and Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, announced that the contest would be held in Jerusalem.

Ynet reported Wednesday that the organizers made clear to Israeli officials that if the location of next year’s competition became too much of a political football that it would move the venue. The organizers also asked for two cities to submit proposals to host the competition, according to Ynet.

Contact Alyssa Fisher at or on Twitter, @alyssalfisher




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