On May 12, shortly after Netta Barzilai won Eurovision 2018, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a tweet heard round the world.

“Netta, you have brought great glory to the state of Israel!” he wrote. “Next year, in Jerusalem!”

He later added: “These days Jerusalem is blessed with many gifts. Another one we received last night with Netta’s brilliant and explosive victory.”

Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, chimed in too, saying that the Jerusalem Municipality will work overtime to prepare for a perfect Eurovision competition in 2019.

Most host countries take several months to decide on their Eurovision host city. But judging from these comments at the very top of Israel’s government, it seems clear they’ve already chosen.

Why is Jerusalem a controversial Eurovision host city?

The ancient city is significant to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and is home to a number of sacred religious sites, including the Temple Mount, which is venerated by all three religions.

Politically both Israel and Palestine claim the city as their capital. Neither claim is widely recognised. However, today — two days after Netta’s Eurovision victory — the United States is officially relocating its Embassy to Jerusalem, a move that has already sparked outrage both at home and abroad for months.

Many fear that the decision to host Eurovision in Jerusalem, which previously hosted in 1999 and 1979, will stoke tensions in the city, which is already dealing with clashes. This gruesome headline from the Guardian conveys the ongoing tragedy: “Israeli troops kill dozens of Palestinians protesting against US embassy move to Jerusalem”.

That has understandably led some fans to worry about security concerns and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks.

We should point out that Israel has a long history of hosting large-scale events — and at the highest level of security. Recall Eurovision 1979 and 1999; Tel Aviv’s massive gay pride celebrations which take place every year; the recent Israel Calling event, which welcomed 30,000 spectators to Rabin Square; and sold-out shows from Madonna, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Paul McCartney and more.

Jerusalem: Potential Eurovision venues

In recent years, Tel Aviv has been considered a major Eurovision hub, having served as the host city for the popular Israel Calling promotional event.

But mayor Ron Huldai has already said that Tel Aviv will not bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

Israel’s Globes newspaper has taken that as a sure-fire sign we’re headed to Jerusalem.

The paper reports that the International Convention Center, which hosted Eurovision in both 1979 and 1999, is considered too small for Eurovision 2019. It has a capacity of just 3,100, which wouldn’t work with the new super-sized Eurovision, which includes two semi-finals, a grand final, and, more typically, tens of thousands of audience members.

The Municipality of Jerusalem has floated two potential venues.

Jerusalem Pais Arena

Teddy Soccer Stadium

What do you make of Jerusalem as a potential host city? Do you like the two venues that have been reported by the press? Let us know in the comments box below!

Read more Israel Eurovision news

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Nitzili
Guest
Nitzili

pfffft go away

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

#BoicotEscIsrael

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

why do you sound like a US republican

MarkoH
Guest
MarkoH

Long story short – there will be a bomb.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

I doubt it will be Jerusalem, because the situation is tense lately. We don’t know if this time next year things are going to get better but they should take into account the security of the whole event. I believe Tel Aviv is better, but at the end there will be a solution.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Stop the political drama, Eurovision is about music. We always have some sort of drama. I’m already tired of it, and it has been only three days.

Fred
Guest
Fred

I am really scared to go there and I won’t probably. 2019 would be my first time travelling to eurovision but now this. I am just afraid of the attacks

Rashi
Guest
Rashi

Its completely safe, even safer than most of Europe these days..

Mark
Guest
Mark

Already missing that the biggest drama last year were LEDS. Bjorkman isnt going to be in a good mood, so the positive news is that Israel is going to have the 2nd spot in finals from now on haha

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Don’t bring that up here.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Tel-Aviv would be a better choice, but Jerusalem will be chosen.

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

Which, of course, is why Tel Aviv hosted in 1979 and 1999 … except, of course, that it has been Jerusalem each and every single time.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Germany hosted the contest in Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf (never in its capital by the way, but this hasn’t changed the fact that Germany can call Berlin its capital). The UK has hosted in Brighton, Harrogate and Birmingham. Ireland once hosted in a small town called Milstreet. Switzerland hosted in Lugano as well as Lausanne. Sweden in Gothenburg once and Malmo twice. Norway first hosted in Bergen, not Oslo. Turkey in Istanbul, not Ankara. Having the contest in a safer city will not hurt Israel or Jerusalem.

Brainstorming
Guest
Brainstorming

The air starts to thicken… This isn’t going to be pretty. Let’s stay in Lisbon, shall we?! ?

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Antes de lidiarlo lo crea, es un estado terrorista

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Dañar vallas es el motivo segun tu para disparar a 40 manifestantes donde dia a dia se ocupan nuevos territorios ?….. no tengo ganas ni de calificarte parano perder mi educación

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Terrorista es el estado israeli, con piedras es imposible hacer terrorismo, manifestarse no es terrirismo y matar 40 manifestantes por parte uniformados a tiros es terrorismo de estado.
Y tu eres limitada (por no decir tonta y atroz)

sal
Guest
sal

There are no decent direct transport connections from the airport to Jerusalem. There are not enough well-placed hotels in Jerusalem in relation to the venues.
I know Jerusalem is the capital of Israel but Tel Aviv will be so much more comfortable and convenient with its infrastructure as well as far more friendly for gay fans.

Niko
Guest
Niko

Sorry , I m not going to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is the natural choice for an event like Eurovision and the only fun place in Israel. Horrible choice!

sal
Guest
sal

You sure? Not aware of that having happened to Cesar Sampson or Omar Naber when they came for Israel Calling..

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Because they were ESC performers. They will be allowed. The original poster is talking about regular fans and visitors.

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

I’ll watch ESC2019 on TV.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I’ll watch on my computer. 🙂

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

I doubt it won’t be in Jerusalem.

Lunch
Guest
Lunch

The notion that Jerusalem is dangerous is unfounded in reality and not backed up by factual data. The violent crime rate in Jerusalem is about the same as in Tel Aviv and both cities have a lower crime rate than in many other world cities, including cities in the US and Europe. I have spent time in both cities and, as a woman alone, feel perfectly safe walking alone at night in Jerusalem, something I would not do in most areas of New York City. Eurovision 2019 should still be Tel Aviv to avoid political controversy and because Tel Aviv… Read more »

Caliope
Guest
Caliope

Congrats to Israel and Netta!
Would love to see Gal Gadot or Natalie Portman hosting, that would be amazing

Danny
Guest
Danny

Lol! And Drake too! With James Franco in the green room 😀

beccaboo1212
Guest

That would be excellent! 🙂

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

I pretty much think they will try to make the Gal Gadot thing happen. She’s very charismatic and likes Eurovision.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Unfortunately it seem we’ll have Asi Azar instead. The host of the national selection. He’s a self obsessed annoying creature that is somehow sure he’s adorable.

Kappes
Guest
Kappes

First comment from my friend and my boyfriend when Israel won: ‘They are going to host in Tel Aviv because a) it is tolerant and has a huge gay scene and b) Jerusalem would be too controversial’ – And just for the record: I saw this coming!

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

Thats so Trump of you

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Tel Aviv just looks like the natural and ideal choice. I’ve been to the 2 cities before, both of them lovely, but taking Politics aside, Tel Aviv is way more open minded, I’m sure it has more venues that can host Eurovision, connectivity and mobility is easier, and lets not forget Eurovision is mainly a huge party whereas Jerusalem is not a party city, it is a sacred city for 3 religions so I can perceive some tensions.

Door
Guest
Door

Actually, the most suitable venue in Tel Aviv is a bit smaller than the one in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, although Tel Aviv as a city is much more suited for hosting Eurovision, I doubt it happening since the Israeli government sees hosting Eurovision in Jerusalem as a way of strengthening Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, although Jerusalem is much less tolerant than Tel Aviv because of the high pupolation of Orthodox Jews, who will also give the hosts a hard time to hold rehearsals on Friday and Saturday because of the Saturday’s holiness in Judaism and the Orthodox jews’ big influence… Read more »

Marios
Guest
Marios

Thank you mr Netanyahu for all the information…

Gili
Guest
Gili

YOU WELCOME…TRUTH HURTS I KNOW,,,

Anya
Guest
Anya

Well Israeli politicians better path up things with Iran really soon…things are heating up down there…they should have do cease-fire in Palestina berfore the ESC comes there…

Conii
Guest
Conii

I guess turkey wont be back.

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

So long as Erdogan continues to run the country, you will never see Turkey in Eurovision ever again

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Tel Aviv would be the best host city as it is the cultural heart of Israel and has a vibrant night life, but Jerusalem does have superior venues and it’s a great city in its own special way. Anyway Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are less than an hour drive apart.

lads
Guest
lads

If Israel feels like Jerusalem belongs to them…they’re the winner, they should choose…shut up everybody. Dont act like you can have a say on this.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

I’m sure the EBU would’ve intervened if Ukraine decided to host in the Eastern front, or Azerbaijan in Nargano Karabkh. The EBU should ask Israel to host in Tel Aviv.

A Netherlandian
Guest
A Netherlandian

Then would you say the world has not changed a bit in 20 years?

Paul
Guest
Paul

Jerusalem seems a great idea right now!!

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

oooh of course, with bombs crashing near and far, so romantic <3

p.s f. off

Paul
Guest
Paul

I appreciate sarcasm can be difficult with just text – but I though it was pretty obvious with that comment!

Paul
Guest
Paul

All aboard!…and survive!!!

Matt
Guest
Matt

I’m thinking Tel-Aviv might not be being prevented from running for host city, the Israeli leaders will really want Europe to come to Jerusalem.

please
Guest
please

That doesn’t mean they are anti israel.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

Construction of a roof is probably too expensive for (new) host-broadcaster KAN, so its very likely to be the Pais Arena in Jerusalem.

Gili
Guest
Gili

the government will pay what ever is needed, no worries

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

Guys calm down… Eurovision 2018 just finished and you are freaking out with the next city host. Let EBU and Israel decide that. Our role is to have fun and partying next year in a new destination!

Marios
Guest
Marios

Can you just partying with some people being shot in their heads near you? Really?

Love Israel the only democracy in the middle east
Guest
Love Israel the only democracy in the middle east

Waww how many arabs and antisemetic in this blog done with this awful blog.bye bye

Shanfa Chai
Guest
Shanfa Chai

.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Bye!

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

When prime minister said Jersualim no one other cities in Israel can t bid.

John
Guest
John

No one should go. See what just happened today with all the killings…disgusting.

sevzch
Guest
sevzch

In my opinion involving politics in this contest is disgusting… its about making people gather round and enjoy music…

Paul
Guest
Paul

Sure…and potentially getting killed while having fun…or having fun while people are being killed next door.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Desde tierras robadas con piedras intentan invadir isrel? Deja el alcohol

Gili
Guest
Gili

write in english, i would like to know what you have to say about it

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Usa el traductor de,google

Gtyhygf
Guest
Gtyhygf

After annoucing the winner, have you seen one of the Israeli guys rudely pushing away Cesar sampson when he wanted to congratulate Netta? So rude!

Gynx
Guest
Gynx

Stop spreading rumors, look at the footage and you will see cesar, doron, and netta laughing and no tense atmosphere followed by doron grabbing cesar by the chin but it was obvious this was only playfull

Lane
Guest
Lane

Not surprising.

Markus
Guest
Markus

I saw that moment too and it was quite irritating. Cesar tried to congratulate Netta twice and was pushed back by that guy next to Netta. At his second attempt he was even grabbing straight into Cesars face, it looked really rude. @ Gynx: it didn`t look like fun to me.

brandon fleet
Guest
brandon fleet

What????? No way will they be allowed to host it in Jerusalem. if the do i hope the uk boycotts. today israel have killed dozens in the city. America adds fuel to the starting point but israel stuck the match.

Love Israel the only democracy in the middle east
Guest
Love Israel the only democracy in the middle east

Lol “allowed”??? Who ask really ? Jerusalem is Israels capital..we will not ask any one..you dont like it so dont watch Idiot!

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Una democracia que mata 40 maNIfestantes y se comporta de facto como un estado terrorista

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Infiltrarse? Si cadamdia los palestino van a trabajar a israel como mano de obra barata sin derechos, israle es un estado que lo que no sempuede permitir es matar a 40 manifestantes desarmados aun que se quieran infiltrar

DyGh
Guest
DyGh

I don’t think these are considerable venues.
Also, Israel is an in war drenched country and with the recent events it is very unsafe to host an event like Eurovision, wherever they would do it. Maybe it’s smarter to… relocate?

sevzch
Guest
sevzch

Israel have just hosted giroditallia the 2nd largest cycling event…. and nothing happend everything went smooth and everyone else enjoyed the show… except for that israel isnt in war… (I live there i know,,,,) and belive me that paris and berlin are not safer then jerusalem….

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

comparing the biggest tv program in europe with a cycling event… give me a break

Mike
Guest
Mike

The Hall of Pais in Jerusalem will be excellent for hosting. It was also built to host concerts like Eurovision. Maybe it’s not huge, but it answers all the competition Guidelines. Two Eurovision competitions have already taken place in Jerusalem, and everything has gone very well. The same will happen next year.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

I have a feeling that if it ends up being in Jerusalem, we’ll end up seeing several countries or so deciding to withdraw for a year. That would make for a less enjoyable contest, on top of the many other controversies.

…I’m hoping they’ll give a different city a chance. I’m kind of ignorant of what different areas of Israel are like, but would Haifa (the 3rd largest city) be an option? Can the Sammy Ofer stadium hold it?

Dimitri Daskalakis
Guest
Dimitri Daskalakis

Lisbon was fantastic this year. I’m so hoping that they choose Tel Aviv as it’s a party city. I have no real interest in going to Jerusalem per se but would love to go to Israel anyway. No doubt security will be at kept a maximum level wherever it’s held. (TEL AVIV TEL AVIV TEL AVIV TEL AVIV) .

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

Israel is a TINY country. Tel Aviv is significantly less than an hour away from Jerusalam … and even less far from all the large venues in West Jerusalem that would be competing to host the show. Just take a fricking bus back to Tel Aviv if partying all night is so bloody important!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

So glad to see my country isn’t on that list. 🙂

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Along with Istanbul and Rome, Jerusalem is one of the historically richest cities in the world. Spend a week there and you still won’t have seen enough. Israel is expensive af tho.

Lazarevfan95
Guest
Lazarevfan95

If it is held in Jerusalem i won’t watch it. It needs to be any place but there as we all know it will be a disaster with withdrawals. If the EBU has any sense they will stop Israel from hosting there and if they cause trouble allow another country to step in.

sevzch
Guest
sevzch

ltrly 11 countries have confirmed participation already…. The ebu will most likely say nothing to israel about hosting in jerusalem as israel already hosted the show in jerusalem twice by now… so no excuses from ebu are legitamate because ebu cant say that back then israel didnt have political issues with this city… if you dont wanna watch the show its your choice tho….

Lazarevfan95
Guest
Lazarevfan95

Countries can withdraw after they have confirmed and trust me there will be many who will do so. I will be shocked if the EBU allows Jerusalem as host city.

Escphbelgium
Guest
Escphbelgium

I hope the mayor of Tel Aviv would change their minds.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Surely the EBU has final Words about this? If it indeed is Jerusalem but they deem it unsafe can they change location?

Richard
Guest
Richard

They can. If Israel insists they can move it to another country.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I hope Albania (aka my winner) 🙂

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

They didn’t change in 2017, it won’t happen in 2019.

Christian
Guest
Christian

Let’s just use the same hall like in 1979 and 1999 and everything will be fine.

Gobio
Guest
Gobio

Too small.

GeeTee
Guest
GeeTee

It’s too small for that. I know because right now I’m organizing local song contests there. 😀

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

Oh wow! That’s really interesting. What contests?

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

The live event is now a LOT larger than it used to be. Delegations are bigger, there are almost twice as many delegations as there used to be, and the fans now number in the 5-digits. The former venue is not remotely large enough for what the event has grown into.