Israel confirmed for 2018 Eurovision

But with court ruling on IBC still ahead, future participation remains in jeopardy.

October 4, 2017 13:41
Israel confirmed for 2018 Eurovision

Israel's fans wave flags before the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Grand Final at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, May 13, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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After months of worry, Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is safe – at least for next year.

The Jerusalem Post
has learned that the Israel Broadcasting Corporation – which went live in May – has been granted temporary membership in the European Broadcasting Union. According to the EBU, which runs the annual singing contest, Israel will be allowed to participate in the 2018 Eurovision in Portugal no matter what. But its permanent membership – and future participation – is still in jeopardy.

According to Claire Rainford, senior communications officer, the EBU is waiting on that decision at least until November, when the High Court of Justice is slated to rule on the legality of the legislation that created the IBC, known as Kan [Here].

“We will be taking a decision on membership after the court ruling on news which I believe we are expecting in early November,” Rainford told the Post on Wednesday. “They are allowed to enter the song contest while they wait on a decision on membership.”

Famed Israeli transexual singer and Eurovision winner Dana International. (Reuters)

The Israel Broadcasting Authority, the IBC’s predecessor, which went off the air this year after 69 years, had been a member of the EBU since 1957. But the political compromise that created the IBC separated the news division from its other broadcasting operations. Such a move would disqualify it from membership in the EBU, and therefore from participation in the Eurovision Contest.

Last May, the High Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the news division from splitting off, but it is expected to issue a permanent ruling in November. If it allows the split, the IBC’s membership in the EBU will be at risk. If the court forbids the division, a political firestorm will erupt, since it took months of negotiations to finally produce the law creating it.

In the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest last May, Israel confused viewers by bidding goodbye to the competition. It was the final contest for the IBA, and Israel’s representative, Ofer Nachshon, said goodbye to viewers live on air.

“For the past 44 years Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, winning three times,” he told the Ukrainian hosts during the live show. “But tonight is our final night; shortly IBA will shut down its broadcasting forever. So on behalf of all of us here in IBA, let me say thank you Europe for all the magical moments and the beautiful music.... and hopefully we shall meet again in the future.”

Nachshon’s speech caused widespread confusion and panic on social media about Israel leaving the show after decades of participation. European media picked up the story as well; a headline on the UK’s Mirror Online read: “Israel QUITS Eurovision Song Contest live on air after taking part for 44 years.”

No matter what the High Court rules next month, Israel will be a part of the Eurovision Contest next year. But whether that competition will be its last remains to be seen.

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