Competition: Cheers in Israel - Revised ESC song approved

Israel has given in to the dispute over its song for this year's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) - and is now allowed to take part in the competition.

Competition: Cheers in Israel - Revised ESC song approved

Israel has given in to the dispute over its song for this year's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) - and is now allowed to take part in the competition. The ESC organizers have approved Israel's revised song, the first version of which they found too political, as the participating Israeli television station Kan and the organizers announced.

"The competition's reference group, its board, after careful consideration of the text, made the decision to accept the song 'Hurricane' for the upcoming competition," said the organizers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Geneva. The song meets the necessary ESC criteria. Israeli participant Eden Golan will therefore perform the rewritten song, previously called "October Rain", in Sweden in May.

Cheers from the singer

The 20-year-old was extremely happy about the news, as can be seen in a video from the public broadcaster. “We’re going to Eurovision,” she shouts jubilantly into the camera. The recordings also show Eden Golan jumping for joy on the street when she finds out that she is actually going to Malmö.

On Sunday evening, the singer will sing the rewritten song for the first time on Israeli television, as Kan had previously announced. The song therefore has the same melody as its predecessor "October Rain", which was too political for the organizers. According to media reports, the song refers to the massacre by the Islamist Hamas in Israel on October 7th. Terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups murdered around 1,200 people and abducted another 250 to the Gaza Strip.

EBU the content was too political

The lyrics originally said, among other things: "Writer of history, stand by me" and "there is no more air to breathe. There is no room". The EBU found the content too political. According to Kan, the new version is about a young woman who has gone through a personal crisis. The station, which is one of the broadcasters participating in the ESC, has not yet published the text. “Hurricane” was reportedly recorded on March 3rd.

According to a statement, the station also responded to a request from Israeli President Izchak Herzog, who had therefore contacted the station's board of directors, by changing the content. Israel must raise its voice at a time when those who hated the country were trying to exclude and boycott it, Herzog argued for his country's participation in the ESC, according to a statement from the broadcaster.

The broadcaster Kan initially announced that it did not want to edit the text, but then reversed its decision. Otherwise this would have cost Israel participation in the ESC.

The song "October Rain," now called "Hurricane," is the station's first choice for the competition. However, the ESC organizers also rejected the song "Dance Forever", which Kan had also submitted and came second in the Israeli ESC preliminary round, as too political.

The Israeli broadcaster spoke in a statement of a "difference of opinion with the position of the European Broadcasting Union." Accordingly, the authors of both songs were contacted and asked to adapt them “while maintaining full artistic freedom”.

The current year is different and special, said singer Eden Golan, according to Israeli media. “We are dealing with things that we have not dealt with in previous years.” It is more important than ever for her to represent her country with pride.

Artists called for Israel to be excluded from the ESC

Swedish artists, among others, had called for Israel to be excluded from the ESC because of the Gaza war. Israel responded to Hamas' terror with massive bombings and a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, around 30,800 Palestinians have been killed so far.

The organizers rejected Israel's exclusion from the competition. The country has already won the ESC four times.

NEXT NEWS