Updated on September 15: Following the publication of this article, the IBA has confirmed that it plans to participate in Eurovision 2015.

Following the lead of Sweden and its Melodifestivalen, broadcasters across Europe have been dreaming up national selections on steroids. They’re bigger and buzzier, and have more semi-finals to boot. But Israel has decided to go the opposite route. The land of Dana International and Moran Mazor will go smaller this year. Jonah Viezenthal, chief editor for Channel 1, has decided today that the Israeli representative for Eurovision 2015 will be chosen internally by the music editors of radio 88FM.

Radio 88FM belongs to Kol Israel, Israel’s public radio service, which is a division of the IBA (Israel Broadcasting Authority). The station is known to play alternative music from all genres, without any committed to a certain playlist or to popularity ratings.

Even though a decision about the selection process has been made, Israel has not yet officially confirmed its participation in Eurovision 2015. Israel’s participation has been uncertain for months, first because of the closing down of the current public broadcasting authority, and then because of serious budget issues. At the moment Israel cannot afford the costs of participating in Eurovision, especially with IBA in the middle of a process of closing down.

The state broadcaster is reluctant to invest in Eurovision: recent attempts at investing more money in the Israeli entry has resulted in nothing but failure (we’re still upset about Mei Finegold, y’all). The IBA isn’t giving anything away: “An official decision regarding the participation of Israel in Eurovision 2015 has not been made yet,” they tell us.

In the light of this, the decision to go for an internal radio selection seems like a sensible compromise in the event Israel does participate. A super-low budget preselection, which will not even be broadcast on TV, will save a lot of cash, allowing the team to invest more in the act once it is chosen.

Israeli fans, though a bit worried about the quality of an entry chosen internally, were relieved to hear that steps are being taken to keep Israel in the contest. Ditching the contest was never really an option. The main concern now is that the editors of the station will go for an old fashioned song, whereas a song chosen in a preselection by the public would better reflect trends in the local music scene.

The editors, who were today told about their upcoming mission, have already started dropping some names. But let’s not worry too much about their choice and this selection process. Let’s just be glad it looks like Israel will be back in the contest.

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

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esc2015/bridge
Guest
esc2015/bridge

@Bledar Leka : yeah, I was so amazed when I saw… ESP actually came third in the televote but much more lower with juries so ESP came 11th in Portuguese votes, but earlier years, they did give Spain a lot…

Bledar Leka
Guest
Bledar Leka

@Belko, You say about political voting between Portugal and Spain but remember that Portugal gave Spain 0 points this year

Belko
Guest
Belko

Michel, that is correct, and I gotta say I really hope that we won’t be seeing any politics at ESC 15 but, probably we will due to political voting (Ex Soviet and Yugoslav republics -if Yugoslavs confirm- Romania-Moldova, Spain,Italy-Romania, Spain-Portugal) and of course the one and only Cyprus-Greece.

Michel
Guest
Michel

@Belko, i do not mind if ANY country competes. What i find amusing is that people tend to overlook the political misdeeds of other countries, while completely focusing on another. this is a contest that does not need politics, but when they are brought up, it tends to only be focused on Israel.

Belko
Guest
Belko

Israeli politics should not be involved to ESC…

Belko
Guest
Belko

Guys, I don’t understand your compaints against Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Israel etc. As Pilou said after booing the Azerbaijani 12 pts to Russia, eurovision is ABOUT MUSIC AND LOVE. Michel, why do you think Russia should not compete? And someone who understands meaning of eurovision, should welcome Qatar, Morocco and others. And expecially now, when contest’s Diamond Anniversary is held in Austria with theme of unity and peace.

Belko
Guest
Belko

@MayaG, I just saw via esctoday.com that Israel has confirmed. It says so on wikipedia article

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

@Belko The IBA is intended to be closed and immediately reopened. Rebooted, so to speak. I’m sure it’s possible for the current IBA to select a song, Not sure how high their motivation is in light of recent failures.
Radio 88fm is a decent choice. It’s considered somewhat highbrow, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and is very versatile in terms of musical genres.

Michel
Guest
Michel

@Haris D – you know nothing. where are the complaints against Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia? Do you welcome Lebanon, Qatar and Morocco to participate? your shortsighted, uneducated opinions should be kept to yourself.

David
Guest
David

Good to see Israel is not withdrawing. And to anyone complaining about Israel.. Why complain about Israels war when you do not complain and have no problem with Russia… People here are overall OK with russia competing while Israel should banned. It is a double standard and typical antisemitism.

Darren
Guest
Darren

The best thing Israel should do is withdraw for about a year or two to get their finances in order or start up a new broadcaster, as happened in Greece, also, in light of recent political atrocities I also feel they shouldn’t take part for a while. Come back in 2016 or 2017 with a new broadcaster, better approach, better finances and a better global image.

Dar
Guest

I just can’t see Israel qualifying anymore .. People can be very political .. I don’t agree with Israel’s politics but believe the deserved to qualify in 2013 and maybe in 2014

Mario Espinola
Guest
Mario Espinola

I dunno what the “battle plan” will aim to do. They have sent two amazing entries these past two years but the results have been awful for some reason. Both Moran and Mei were disgustingly underrated.

Belko
Guest
Belko

@Bledar, you are right, but that problem exists for years but RTSH keeps going! If they find someone as good as Rona Nishliou and they can achieve a good place in Vienna. But, because they made that commercial, it looks as they will be there to me.

Belko
Guest
Belko

Thanks, William Lee, but I don’t get it, why do they say those things like ‘song opening submitions’ if they don’t know are they going to actually participate in the contest. As for Israel, in my opinion, they should withdraw because they send so great songs every year, and people globally like them, like Mei and her ‘Same Heart’, it gets 3rd place in OGAE poll and finishes the ESC competition in 35th place. Similar situation was with poor Valentina from San Marino, who got 2nd place in OGAE and finished 27th in 2013. Both songs were my personal winners… Read more »

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

For now, it looks like Israel will be in Vienna.

Bledar Leka
Guest
Bledar Leka

@Belko and @William Lee Adams, I wouldn’t be surprised if Albania did withdraw, as back when I lived there hardly anyone watched it (we don’t even get enough viewers to receive a valid televote, and that’s shameful in a country of 3 million!!!)

William Lee Adams
Admin

As for Albania, there was a commercial in Albania calling for songs for Festivali i Kenges, but the advertisement did not specify that the winner would go to Eurovision….and we haven’t seen an official confirmation from the broadcaster. Prior to 2003, the winner did NOT go to Eurovision, so it’s not clear yet

William Lee Adams
Admin

The IBA has not made an official statement, and they say the decision is not yet made. Radio 88FM may have spoken before they were supposed to? It is all a bit confusing.

Belko
Guest
Belko

Does that mean that Israel confirms? And what about shutting down the IBA? And what about information that Israel withdraws cause they didn’t get into final since 2010? And does that mean Lebanon won’t try out? By the way, did Albania confirm or not?

Haris D.
Guest
Haris D.

Letting Israel to compete in competition that celebrates love would be just wrong. After everything they have done recently (and many, many times before) EBU shoud ban them. Same way as they banned Yugoslavia in the 90s.

I’m sorry for Israeli Eurovision fans though (counting they aren’t evil like their government).

D
Guest
D

If Radio 88FM will definitely internally select Israel’s entry, how is this not a confirmation that Israel will compete?