Every year rumours swirl that Israel will be forced to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest. Sometimes it centers around the supposed collapse of the broadcaster, while in other instances it revolves around date conflicts. Today’s installment of the ever-present question “Will Israel withdraw?!” stems from an NRG article which points out that the Eurovision 2016 dates coincide with Memorial Day — a very important date on Israel’s calendar.
The first semi final, which is scheduled for May 10, falls on the eve of Yom Hazikaron — Israel’s Day of Rememberance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. Memorial services are attended by Israel’s top leaders and military personnel. This is not a day of celebration, so, as NRG explains, “Israel cannot participate in the first semi-final and cannot transmit it.”
This is solved easily enough. Israel can simply ask the European Broadcasting Union to participate in the second semi final on May 12. Israel and a number of other countries have made such requests successfully in the past.
But there is another kink. The second semi-final dress rehearsal takes place the day before — on May 11, which is Memoral Day itself. This leaves the EBU in a sticky situation, as it would be forced to let Israel skip the dress rehearsal — which is also the jury show for the semi. #headache.
Israel, you’ll remember, withdrew from the 1980 contest because of a similar conflict. And that followed two consecutive wins.
A third issue is the planned dissolution of the IBA in March 2016. The IBA has previouisly said that this would not impact the broadcaster’s committments to the EBU.
What do you think will happen? Could Israel get a ticket direct to the final?