Four years ago Israel debuted at Junior Eurovision 2012 with the group Kids.il, ultimately finishing in eighth place.

But now — following a three-year absence — Israel’s IBA has confirmed to wiwibloggs that it will return to Junior Eurovision 2016 in Malta.

Israel will conduct a nationwide search for its contestant, ultimately resulting in an internal selection. The broadcaster is simultaneously accepting song submissions in its quest to slay in Valletta this November.

Kids.il — the charming six-piece group that sang at the contest in Amsterdam four years ago — charmed our socks off with their song “Let The Music Win”.

Ahead of the contest the Wiwi Jury —our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — ranked the song first, giving them an average score of 8.83/10. We were full of praise, with one juror writing:

An absolute triumph. This song is mature, catchy and touching. It’s as if they’re singing about the conflict that surrounds the state of Israel. Given the recent loss of lives and rocket attacks with Hamas, its message of peace takes on even more relevance. I suspect these kids know more about fear and war and trauma than most of us. Surely it’s in their collective conscience? If they sing as well live as they do digitally re-mastered, I see this winning the jury vote. I’m not convinced kids will vote for it, but I’m hoping that they do so.

At the actual competition the group gave a strong performance, but ultimately finished in a disappointing eighth place.

But the fact they participated at all should be applauded. As I wrote in The Atlantic in December 2012, the group faced extreme circumstances ahead of the competition as the country was actively involved in military conflict.

Nurturing aspiring pop stars requires a lot of patience, especially when Hamas is firing rockets over your border. Daniella Gardosh Santo of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA) learned that fact firsthand in recent weeks as she worked with Kids.il, a sextet of 10- to 14-year-olds competing in Israel’s name at the 2012 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The threat of pipe bombs and the roar of sirens forced the group to adjust its rhythm on the eve of the December 1 contest. “We missed a few rehearsals because I didn’t want to take responsibility for having the kids in the studio when the alarms sounded,” she says. “It’s not like you’re on the beach. The shelter is very crowded.”

Even as the missiles dropped, Gardosh Santo knew the show had to go on. Her team continued to drum up publicity for the group throughout the conflict, and, given the sensitive nature of taking children away from their families during a war, arranged for all of their parents to journey with them to the Netherlands for the week of rehearsals and press conferences that began at the end of November. For Gardosh Santo and the IBA, competing at Junior Eurovision holds significance far beyond giving six kids their 15 minutes of fame. “We want to cultivate and enhance international relationships,” she says, “and bring the beautiful face of Israel to the world.”

Kids.il have remained relevant in Israel, and even performed at Israel Calling — Israel’s first large-scale Eurovision promotional event, which took place in April 2016. They sang at both the opening party and on-stage.

17 countries confirmed

The EBU have confirmed that 17 countries will be participating in Junior Eurovision 2016.

This includes the 14 countries returning from last year: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Malta, FYR Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine, as well as Cyprus who are returning after a one-year absence, Poland, who we haven’t seen at the junior competition in over ten years, and Israel, who we last saw in 2012.

The contest will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta on the afternoon of Sunday, November 20th. The time in which the contest will air has yet to be announced.

Are you excited that Israel is making its return to Junior Eurovision this year? Who are you looking forward to seeing at JESC? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Maya G
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Maya G

Kids.il have not remained relevant in Israel, I haven’t heard about them once since JESC 2012. The only one of them who is still relevant, at least if you ask a teenager, is Adi Bity (the little blond girl) – https://youtu.be/tkN6Uexd_c0 – but she apparently left the group as she’s absent in the “Israel Calling” video.

YoungsterJoey
Guest
YoungsterJoey

Curious what deal EBU/TVM (Malta) offered for Israel to come back? Reduced registration fee? Free? Regardless, welcome back!

Darren
Guest
Darren

Welcome back Israel, it will be interesting to see how they approach JESC. It’s probably too late, but I would love to see France, Germany, Sweden and Spain announce participation

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

YASSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! 17 countries is really good 🙂

Adam
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Adam

The kids.il are actually really good! I can imagine them trying to represent Israel in a couple years after practicing a bit on harmonizing and getting more experience

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

@ooops

I think that’s a very laughable excuse tbh. It’s too late to confirm? Confirm earlier!

17 countries is quite a lot for a childrens competition though, but a very good amount of nice and variety of countries. (With new languages like Greek, Polish and Hebrew, we haven’t heared for a lobg while).

A couple of years ago they would do a murder to get this much countries, so it’s very acceptable.

oooops
Guest
oooops

And Germany recently said that they won’t debut while it is too late.

Ich glaube nur dass ihr seid nicht intressiert.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Maybe Kids.IL should enter Rising Star? Or change their name at least cause they dont look like kids anymore from the Israeli preparty! But they all have great voices i would hope they are sucessfull in israel.