Israel Drops Demand That Eurovision Song Competition Be Held In Jerusalem

Apparently spooked by last week’s last-minute decision by the Argentinian national football team to cancel a friendly match in Jerusalem due to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, the Israeli government reportedly has dropped a demand that next year’s Eurovision song competition be held in the capital. The decision to back off and leave the planning to Israel’s Kan public broadcaster—which is tasked with organizing the event in conjunction with Eurovision officials—purportedly was made over the weekend during a conference call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Conspicuously absent from the process was Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who many accuse of having politicized the Argentina fixture—in effect, fomenting the brouhaha which led to the cancelation of the game—given her insistence months ago on moving the event from Haifa to Jerusalem at a cost to the state of nearly $1 million. On Thursday, Regev threatened to withdraw Israel from the annual talent show unless it was held in the holy city. Israel secured the right to host Eurovision 2019 by virtue of Netta Barzilai’s victory in this year’s competition with her song “Toy.”

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