Eurovision 2019 – An Israeli commercial TV channel, Reshet 13, is today reporting that the EBU may move the 2019 from Israel. The Israeli news report says that an EBU insider has suggested that the EBU is considering moving the contest to Austria.
The claims come from Araleh Goldfinger, a Producer of the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest. He says the EBU is worried about local elections in Jerusalem in November which could delay any plan to host there.
After the initial claims by prominent Israeli politicians that Eurovision 2019 would be held in Jerusalem, the EBU met quickly with KAN, the Israeli broadcaster, with rumours that they expressed their dissatisfaction with political interference. Since then Israeli politicians have taken a lower profile. Yossi Sharabi, director of the Culture and Sport Ministry, backtracked on original claims, saying Jerusalem was not a ‘given’.
KAN will be responsible for organising the contest and it is expected that, as usual, there will be a bidding competition to host. The possible host city entrants to date seem to be Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haim, Eilat and Petah Tikva.
It would seem sensible that the EBU would have a plan B if the situation in Israel does not change. With threats of boycotts, the damage to the contest may be seen as too great a risk and the EBU may decide to take the contest to another country. The EBU could look at runners up Cyprus and Austria as potential hosts of the 2019 contest.