Gay French Muslim teen to perform in Israel for Eurovision

"I hear life is really exciting over there in Tel Aviv," said France's Eurovision representative Bilal Hassani.

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA
February 1, 2019 06:34
1 minute read.
People celebrate the winning of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 by Israel's Netta Barzilai.

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)

 
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The 19-year-old singer representing France in this year’s Eurovision song contest said he will perform in Israel in May, death threats be damned.

Moroccan-French artist Bilal Hassani said he won’t back down despite the threats over his planned appearance in Tel Aviv. Hassani, who is gay and known for his gender-bending stage get-ups, also has received threats because of his sexual orientation.



“I can’t wait, I heard the life is really exciting over there in Tel Aviv. I can’t wait to see the sun and I can’t wait to visit,” he told Israel’s Channel 12.



Hassani has filed a police report about the threats, according to Channel 12.



Israel is hosting the 2019 contest based on singer Netta Barzilai’s victory in the 2018 competition in Portugal.



Pro-Palestinian activists have called for boycotting the competition. Earlier this week 50 artists, musicians and filmmakers called on the BBC to ask for the music competition to be held in another country, citing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The 19-year-old singer was born to a Moroccan Muslim family in Paris.

The Tel Aviv municipality which is hosting Eurovision this year has welcomed the singer in a Twitter post staying, "When you're coming to Tel Aviv this May, don't forget to visit Jaffa, the hummus there is delicious!"

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