THE 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv... and not Jerusalem.
The government initially insisted on holding the popular event in Israel’s capital.
But following a backlash over America’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital and a subsequent fear of boycotts, it dropped the demand.
Culture Minister Miri Regev said she had hoped the contest would be in Jerusalem, but has no doubt that Tel Aviv will do a worthy job.
The European Broadcasting Union announced yesterday that the contest will be held at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds complex on May 18.
The first semi-final will be on May 14 — coincidentally, the date on which the State of Israel was founded in 1948.
EBU officials said they chose Tel Aviv — Israel’s cultural and commercial capital — because of its “creative and compelling bid.”
Israel won Eurovision this year with the flashy pop tune Toy, sung by Netta Barzilai, who dazzled viewers with her feminist lyrics, unconventional appearance and signature chicken dance.
“We’d like to thank all the Israeli cities that bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019,” said Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision.
“In the end we decided that Tel Aviv has the overall best set-up to host the biggest entertainment show in the world.
“We are excited to bring the Eurovision song contest to a brand new city, and are looking forward to working together with KAN [the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation] to make 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest the most spectacular one yet.”
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the city is the ideal location for the competition.
“Tel Aviv has been internationally acclaimed for its vibrant energy, creative spirit, its lively cultural scene and its celebration of freedom,” he added. “We are looking forward to hosting a joyful and non-stop event.”