Israel asks Iceland not to boycott Eurovision 2019

RUV station tells ‘Post’: ‘Nothing has been decided yet’.

By
May 27, 2018 19:41
2 minute read.
A general view of Reykjavik, Iceland

A general view of Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo credit: REUTERS/MICHAELA REHLE)

 
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The Israeli ambassador to Iceland met last week with officials from the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service in an effort to ward off any potential boycott of next year’s Eurovision competition in Israel.

Ambassador Raphael Schutz, who is stationed in Oslo and also serves Reykjavik, visited the office of RUV, Iceland’s national broadcaster, on Thursday.

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A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that they are “cautiously optimistic.”

The meeting came amid the backdrop of a petition calling for Iceland to not partake in next year’s Eurovision. As of Sunday afternoon, the petition had just over 25,000 signatures.

A representative of RUV told the Post on Sunday that the station has not yet made any decision.

“More than 25,000 people have signed this petition, which is a lot, considering that we, the Icelandic nation, are only 330,000,” said Johann Hlidar Hardarson, a reporter with RUV. Hardarson said that the Israeli ambassador visited them “to present Israel’s point of view.”

He added that “Nothing has been decided yet, and frankly I don’t think that Iceland will decide to do anything on its own. They will most likely discuss the matter with the other Nordic countries before making any decision.”

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A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said that no similar meetings have taken place in other countries, and that Schutz happened to be in Reykjavik for other meetings.

The mayor of Dublin has also called for a boycott of next year’s competition, but the country has not suggested any such move.

While many Icelanders appear to have signed the petition, there are still thousands in the country who are fans of Israel’s Netta Barzilai and her winning song, “Toy.” Iceland’s jury gave Barzilai 8 points during the competition, the third-highest amount possible. And televoters in the country awarded her 7 points, making her the fourth most popular choice among Icelandic Eurovision fans.

And the country’s contestant in this year’s Eurovision, Ari Olafsson, visited Israel earlier this year along with 24 other competitors for the third annual Israel Calling event.

“The trip to Jerusalem was fantastic and the city is so amazing,” Olafsson wrote on Instagram while in Israel. After performing for thousands of fans in Tel Aviv, the singer took to social media again: “Israel was amazing!” he wrote. “I have to thank everyone involved with Israel Calling – as you can see I had such an amazing time with the best people.”

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