For some Eurovision contestants, the disappointment comes when they are knocked out of the semi-finals. However, for Israel, the disappointment this year might be that it is their final year in the competition.
The Eurovision Song Contest is held every year with participating European countries. There are a few exceptions. Australia finally joined the helm in 2015 after being devoted fans for longer than some of the already participating countries have existed according to SBS’s The Feed.
Israel is another participating country that is not in Europe. And, up until Australia joined, many fans of the song contest wondered why they were even considered for entry. However, since Eurovision is not always so strict on what constitutes a European country, Israel has been competing.
However, one of the rules Eurovision’s board does usually enforce is that participating countries must be a member of European Broadcasting Union. The EBU is the group that produces Eurovision every year, so this makes sense. Even Australia, though outside Europe, adheres to this rule. Well, sort of. Technically, they are considered an associate member. This normally disqualifies access to the Eurovision song contest, but, thanks to a 60th anniversary offering to include Australia as a one-off event and the enormous fan base in Australia and its multicultural diversity, the EBU has obviously made an exception here that has bled out into additional entries.
However, for Israel, their run of Eurovision participation might be over with their 2017 entry thanks to Israel closing down its public broadcasting channel IBA recently. Along with this, the channel that will be replacing it will not be airing news content. According to the EBA’s rules, news content is a prerequisite to being a member. Therefore, if Israel doesn’t meet this requirement on the new channel, they may be ineligible to participate in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest according to Metro.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the EBU’s regulations state participating members should have a news division as a separate entity. Currently, the new channel in Israel will not retain control over their news division.
The EBU are following the outcome of this development closely, but it is possible 2017 will be the last Eurovision performance for Israel. Along with a loss of Eurovision entry qualification, a non-news channel in Israel also means they will lose coverage of the World Cup and UEFA football thanks to the EBU holding the broadcasting rights to these sporting events.
Currently, the EBU seems hopeful an arrangement will be met, and Ingrid Deltenre, director-general of the EBU, released the following statement via the Jerusalem Post.
“[The EBU is] following closely the process of establishment of a new public service media organization in Israel. [We have] some reservations with regard to the latest developments; impartial news is one of the core tasks of every public service media organization. The EBU is waiting to see what will happens before ruling on the issue. Once IBA, the existing member of the EBU, has been dissolved and IPBC becomes operational, IPBC’s application for membership of the EBU will be fully considered. Therefore, at the moment, the EBU has no formal position on this.”
Israel’s 2017 entry into the Eurovision Song Contest is titled “I Feel Alive.” The song has an upbeat club anthem feel to it and Israel is hoping it will take them all the way to victory this year. Previously, Israel has won the song contest three times since they joined in 1973, taking out consecutive titles in 1978 and 1979. Their third win came in the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest.
You can view the official video clip for Israel’s 2017 entry into the Eurovision Song Contest below.
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[Featured Image by Michael Campanella/Getty Images]