In the wake of Europe’s financial crisis, Eurovision has been getting smaller and smaller when it comes to participation. The 2014 contest was the smallest in recent memory, with only 37 countries present. We’d hate to lose any more. Thankfully Cyprus set our hearts alight when it emerged recently that Nicosia will return in 2015. But just as quickly as we jumped for joy, we now find ourselves poised to sob into our pillows. Word has it that Israel, one of Eurovision’s longest-running entrants, may be bowing out of the contest.
According to the EBU, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, which has been a member since 1957, and participated in Eurovision since 1973, faces significant cutbacks that might force it to shutdown. A slimmer and more efficient organization will likely take its place. You might recall this happening in Greece this year, albeit at a glacial pace. That almost led Greece to withdraw. However, it is more likely that Israel will withdraw because its changes will start around March of next year. They will not have the time, money, or broadcaster to participate at Eurovision.
That’s not all, though. Yaakov Neve, a board member of the IBA, recently told the Jewish Turkish-language newspaper Salom that he has been extremely disappointed with Israel’s recent non-qualifying streak, blaming Israel’s misfortune on political tensions. After the shocking early exit by diva Mei Finegold, I don’t blame him.
If Israel were to withdraw, how would this affect the number of countries in the contest? Obviously, we would be missing one country. However, Moroccan broadcaster 2MTV, known for its support of free speech and taboo-breaking in Morocco, has applied for EBU membership. Should this be granted in time, the broadcaster will more than likely bring Morocco back for their second participation after their only entry, in the 1980 contest.
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)