People celebrate the winning of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 by Israel's Netta Barzilai with her song "Toy" , Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 13, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/CORINNA KERN)
In her denial of a TV report on Saturday night, Culture Minister Miri Regev admitted that she had made requests of the Kan public broadcaster in regards to next year's Eurovision competition.
A report on Channel 2 News stated that Regev had asked for government approval of and involvement in the video clips played between songs at next year's contest. The report added that the culture minister was unhappy with this year's Kan representative, Lucy Ayoub, speaking Arabic during the live broadcast.
Regev's office issued a denial of the report on Saturday night, but essentially admitted to the claims.
"Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev has no intention of intervening with the content," the statement read. "Nevertheless, the minister made her personal position on the matter clear: The Eurovision contest is a chance to show the beautiful and diverse face of Israeli society." Therefore, the statement continued, she made a request to coordinate "between Kan and the government, which is spending public money on the competition and on the public broadcaster."
The rules of the competition clearly state that political figures and considerations may not play any role in the competition.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly held a phone conversation with several ministers - excluding Regev - in which he urged there to be no political involvement in the competition.
The report on Channel 20 said that Netanyahu told the ministers the competition need not be held in Jerusalem, and that no government officials should be getting involved in the process.
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Earlier this month, Regev stated that if Eurovision could not be held in Jerusalem, Israel should not host it at all.
Immediately afterward, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara issued a statement that the government would not be getting involved in the Eurovision and that Israel would follow all the rules and regulations of the European Broadcasting Union.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Kan told The Jerusalem Post
that there is not nor will there be any government involvement in the competition.
"There is no connection - and it is forbidden for there to be - between the government and the Eurovision," said Sharon Ben-David, Kan's spokeswoman. "The entire operation is run only by Kan."
Representatives from Kan are slated to hold a meeting this week in Geneva with officials from the European Broadcasting Union to begin the process of planning next year's competition.
EBU officials told The Jerusalem Post
earlier this month that it hopes Kan will “take all necessary steps to safeguard the non-political character of the event throughout the organization of the competition.”
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