Eurovision in Israel: Celebrating global connections through music

June 7, 2019

Other News

Kobi Marimi represented Israel at 2019 Eurovision.

Kobi Marimi represented Israel at 2019 Eurovision.

Tel Aviv lit up with magic during the week of May 13 for the 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest.

With all of Europe’s eyes on Israel, Tel Aviv did not disappoint.

In 2018, Netta Barzili, representing Israel, was announced the winner of the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest for her song about strong women, Toy. This marked a huge victory for Israel, and Toy was the new Israeli anthem, blasting at every wedding, nightclub, and bar mitzvah for the 12 months to follow. Barzili has become a star across Europe and an idol among Israelis.

“As you know Israel is not actually part of Europe,” says Israel native, Chen Glikman. “And for us to be accepted into the competition and then win everything gains a lot of respect for Israel.

“There can be a lot of hate that comes with being from Israel and the music competition accepts Israel and leaves the politics aside,” says Glikman.

Barzili’s win also meant that Israel became the hosting country for the 64th annual contest for the third time. After much debate and bidding, Tel Aviv was selected as the host city and Expo Tel Aviv, the city’s convention center, was chosen to host 39 European and Eurasian countries on May 18.

Euro Village was set up in Charles Clore Park near the beach and held more than 10,000 people for a four-day pre-Eurovision festival with performances, stalls, and bars. This also held the stage for all of the semifinals of the competition. The lights from Euro Village were electrifying. Euro Village was compared to musical festivals in the United States such as Coachella, Boneroo, and Governor’s Ball. A source in Tel Aviv says that on Thursday, May 16, Euro Village became so full that cell phones stopped working.

The Tel Aviv multiplicity arranged for visitors to “just feel like tourists, but experience the best Israel has to offer, which is it’s people.” Tourists were placed in homes of Tel Avivians for an authentic Shabbat Dinner.

The finals at the Expo center began on Saturday evening and were hosted by Israeli celebrities such as Assi Azzar, Bar Rafaeli, Arab Israeli Lucy Ayoub, and Erez Tal, and with a special celebrity appearance by Madonna. Kobi Marimi, Israel’s contest representative for the year gave an emotional performance with his song Home. He concluded his performance in tears, which was felt throughout the audience and all of Israel.

Although The Netherlands were named this year’s Eurovision winner, the big winner was Israel, who proved it can host such an extravagant and inclusive event in such a small country. Despite the terror they faced in the weeks prior to the event, Europeans walked away with a different view of Israel, and that music connects all.

Carly Glikman

Letter to the Editor