Eurovision organizers reluctant to hold 2019 event in Jerusalem

Netta Barzilai reacts as she wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, May 12, 2018. (photo: Armando Franca / AP)

European officials fear that celebrations in the contested city could cause controversy.

By Chaim Levinson | Haaretz | Jun 7, 2018

Production of next year’s spectacle is in the hands of the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, but the European Broadcasting Union has broad powers over details.

Officials at the European Broadcasting Union are uneasy about holding the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem next year, say Israelis involved in the production.

Following a series of meetings last week, the European officials expressed concern that Mideast politics could harm the competition and erode the brand, the sources say.

The Eurovision will take place in Israel next year because an Israeli, Netta Barzilai, won the 2018 contest held in Portugal last month. No decision has been made on the location or date; preparations are at a very early stage, and controversy surrounding Jerusalem increased last month when the United States moved its embassy there.

Last week representatives of the group visited Israel. . . . At the meetings, the Europeans asked for a detailed proposal on how the event would be hosted, the sources say. But the officials seemed to feel that Jerusalem did not have an appropriate venue for the competition, the Israelis say.

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