Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 will take place in Tel Aviv, following expectations that it might be held in the controversial divided city of Jerusalem.
The political controversy surrounding Israel’s hosting the contest ran the chance of a boycott by some members, after the government initially insisted on holding the popular event in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and commercial epicenter, was chosen over Jerusalem and the southern city of Eilat because of its “creative and compelling bid”.
“Eurovision is a perfect fit for our city, which has been internationally acclaimed for its vibrant energy, creative spirit, its lively cultural scene and its celebration of freedom,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. “We are looking forward to host a joyful and nonstop event in the spirit of Tel Aviv.”
Israel’s claims to Jerusalem as its capital has led to bloodshed in recent months.
President Donald Trump announced that he was moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem. Almost all countries do not recognise Israel’s claims to Jerusalem. Israel won the Eurovision this year with a flashy pop tune called Toy by singer Netta Barzilai. Her victory earned Israel the right to host next year’s contest.
Capital cities have usually played host to the Eurovision Song Contest in Europe. But the city Israel considers its capital is not recognised as such by most of the international community.
If the contest was held in Jerusalem, public broadcasters that make up the European Broadcasting Union would likely be accused of taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian-led BDS campaign has called for the Eurovision contest to be boycotted altogether if it is held in Israel.