Netta Barzilai may have said “see you next year in Jerusalem” during her Eurovision winner’s speech, but now a top cultural official says that may not be a guarantee.

Yossi Sharabi, the Director General of Israel’s Culture and Sport Ministry, addressed the issue on Wednesday.

“Eurovision in Jerusalem? It isn’t at all a given,” Sharabi told the TV channel Sports 5. “It’s early to talk about this. Everybody wants it to be in Jerusalem. But there could well be other considerations.”

His comments came while he was discussing the Argentine football team, who decided to cancel an exhibition appearance in Israel after receiving “threats and provocations” from Palestinian groups.

That pressure came after the match was moved from Haifa to Jerusalem, whose status is disputed politically and in diplomatic practice.

As Eurovision fans are well aware at this point, similar tension surrounds the very clear desire of Israeli politicians to host Eurovision 2019 in Jerusalem.

Sharabi’s comments suggest that everything is still up for grabs and that Jerusalem is not a lock — despite having the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted his intentions to host the event their moments after Netta’s victory.

Among the “other considerations” that Sharabi may have been referring to? Haaretz names at least two. The first is “the political and security aspects” that “could arouse opposition among the nations participating”. The second is the fact that Eurovision rehearsals and activities in the venue “would be violating the Shabbat”.

As we previously reported, Jerusalem is the heart of Israel’s Orthodox Jewish population, who strictly observe their traditions and religious laws.

According to Jewish religious law, Shabbat — the holy sabbath — is observed from just before sunset on Friday evening until Saturday night.

The Saturday evening broadcast of the show, which will start at 22:00 local time, won’t conflict with this. However, the Friday evening jury show and Saturday afternoon rehearsals would.

Yaakov Litzman — leader of the ultra-Orthodox party Agudat Yisrael, and Israel’s Deputy Minister of Health — drafted a letter to the Ministers of Tourism, Communications, and Culture and Sports, in which he demanded that the event not violate religious laws.

He wrote: “In the name of hundreds of thousands of citizens, Jews from all populations and sectors, for whom keeping the Sabbath is important to them, I am asking you at this early stage, before any production or other details of the event have been set, to make sure this doesn’t undercut the holiness of the Sabbath and to work in every way to prevent Sabbath desecration….”

The EBU and KAN have both said publicly that the host city has not yet been decided.

Read more Israel Eurovision news

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36 Comments on "“Eurovision in Jerusalem is not a given” — Senior culture official Yossi Sharabi says it’s too early to know host city"

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Atlas
Guest

#BoicottIsrael

LeGrand
Guest

I’m Israeli and I hope that Jlem WOULD NOT host. Not only because it is in dispute but also because it’s a conservative city that is not suitable to host such event. Also it has hosted Eurovision twice in the past and now it’s another city’s turn

Kim
Guest

Why can’t they bring the semi finals a day earlier and complete Saturday night rehearsals on Thursday and Friday before Sabbath begins. That would then give a 24 hour window between the rehearsals and the final so enough time to plan any last minute changes.

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Security is still going to have to guard the venue. Technicians are still going to have to run checks on the equipment. Management is still going to have to be working to make certain that nothing weird happens. All the performers and entourages and delegations still need to have places and expenses paid for. It’s a great way to add a lot of expense (a whole day’s worth) to the venue and to all of the delegations, with literally nothing to show for it. Jerusalem 1979 and Jerusalem 1999 both had a ton of work transpiring on the Sabbath. 2019… Read more »
Felix
Guest

I would suggest press stop asking stupid questions and try not do it political. Many politicians in Israel CCL about this event but press still asking them about and pushing them to answer and here we go with those awkward and frustrating answers from persons that now zero about this event.

Ern
Guest

I’m still scratching my head wondering what people liked so much about “Toy” ….

Alon I srael
Guest

not making the contest in the capital is political! EBU should stop involving politics in the contest!
Jerusalem is our capital as much as oslo is Norway’s capital…Jerusalem is safer than London And Paris of these days! there is it called terror! when the same sort of people doing the same horrible things in Israel it is called fighting the occupation….

Pavel
Guest

UK had Eurovision in Brighton and Birmingham, Sweden did it in Malmo and Gothenburg, Germany did in Dusseldorf

Jonas
Guest

Also, in addition to the examples mentioned by Pavel, seeing as you mentioned Norway – after their first victory, they hosted in Bergen and not Oslo. See also Millstreet, Harrogate, Cannes, Naples, Hilversum, Frankfurt, Lausanne, Edinburgh, Istanbul.

AngieP
Guest

So, Israel has to stop insisting on Jerusalem as a host city because the whole thing can be dangerous. They had better have alternatives, discuss the situation with EBU and find common ground. Don’t be so stubborn!

sevzch
Guest

The Broadcaster (KAN) is actually not insisting on any,,, the goverment will prefer jerusalem but we all Know it will end up in Tel Aviv or Haifa

sevzch
Guest

And the broadcaster is actually the one who chooses that host city and venue

lit
Guest

Off topic, but Ieva released new song and it has Wiwiblogger Chris in it .

zeev
Guest

i think its will
be in tel aviv

Jonas
Guest

Was Shabbat observed the previous two times Jerusalem hosted the contest?

Jonas
Guest

Thanks, I know the show is a much bigger beast nowadays, but it’s not impossible that they could accommodate Shabbat again, out of respect. It’s a day lost, sure, but when in Rome and all that.

Maldric
Guest

I already miss 2018…

Maldric
Guest

i already miss ESC 2018…

beccaboo1212
Guest

I don’t think Jerusalem is a good idea anyway. I guess the EBU should move next year’s contest to Albania (aka my personal winner)

Mariah
Guest

Albania doesn’t even have an arena

Jo.
Guest

Go easy with the whiskey.

Joe
Guest

It should be in Jerusalem… Stop the hypocrisy. Israel should choose wherever she want to host. There is always people who will find things to be ofended and reasons to boycott Israel and excuse their hateful and disgusting agenda.

Alphalpha
Guest

What is hateful is Israel’s constant land grabs .

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

I mean if someone attacks you and you win they can’t complain if you snatch some of their land.

Alon I srael
Guest

Israel don’t have colonial reasons… we don’t needother’s lands.. we need security from those who nwant to exterminate us…from time to time they enter and kill whole families includind slauthering babies with a knife… just continue and protect the real terrorists, you blind people!

Jack Green
Guest

When any other country takes private land it’s called the right of eminent domain, but when Israel takes private land it’s called a land grab.

Miss X
Guest

I am absolutely SHOCKED that my comment from yesterday was removed when all I said was that what was even more hateful was Hamas’ terrorist ideology of destroying Israel and all Israelis (which is actually a fact, not a personal opinion!). On the other hand, the comment from Alphalpha stays here intact. Wiwibloggs, do you happen to support Hamas? If so, then people are starting to see your true colors.

Darya
Guest

When will you do the next top model polls?

CarlosM
Guest

Just have it in Tel Aviv, simple as that! And, have the jury show on Friday morning or completely done by sundown.

Israeli
Guest

Just saying. If it were in Tel Aviv very few people would care whether it’s happening on a Friday or a Saturday. (BTW Friday is more problematic. After the sunset Shabbat starts)

MiniPack
Guest

Yes, but TLV doesn’t have a venue.

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

Thank you, Mr Yossi Sharabi.

NoGeoblocks
Guest

Just so i get it straight, where do you want to see Eurovision 2019?

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

Anywhere other than Jerusalem. Maybe Tel Aviv?

Yonit
Guest

Eurovision 2019 will take place only in Jerusalem the one and only capital of Israel!!!!