“See you in Jerusalem next year”? Well, maybe not. Despite the Prime Minister’s early suggestion that Jerusalem would host, and more recent suggestions that hosting is a matter of “Jerusalem or not at all”Time Out reports that at least two other Israeli cities — Tel Aviv and Haifa — are ready to make official bids.

The official bidding process for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 hasn’t kicked off yet. But following unsavoury reactions to Jerusalem hosting, and ongoing controversy surrounding its international status, authorities in other cities are said to be contemplating bids.

Tel Aviv’s mayor previously ruled the city out of contention. But according to Time Out, who spoke with sources inside the Tel Aviv administration, that was merely in deference to the government and a desire to let them decide on matters. If their preferred choice of Jerusalem is removed as an option, Tel Aviv is ready to submit a bid, the magazine says.

Eurovision 2019 in Haifa?

Elsewhere, the magazine reports that Haifa is keen to snag the event.

“We have already sent a letter to the General of Ministry of Sports and Culture, expressing our intentions of competing for the Eurovision Song Contest,” the mayor of Haifa, Yoni Yahav, says.

“Haifa has all the means and it meets all the conditions for hosting the contest. It’s a peaceful city and a symbol of coexistence, and is very worthy of hosting the competition. We have the Sammy Ofer stadium, which seats 31,000 people.”

“Although it needs roofing, the municipality of Haifa would pay for the construction, and we have a train station, we have impressive hotel rooms all over the city, and we would also make sure of additional hotel rooms if needed. We have a small international airport and our transportation is active during Shabbat.”

Indeed, Haifa does meet the basic requirements of hosting — most notably having an arena that well exceeds the 10,000-person minimum, in addition to solid hotel and transport infrastructure.

The mayor’s comment on Shabbat is significant: It gives it a major leg up over Jerusalem, where members of the Orthodox community have already called on the song contest to adjust its schedule, as not to violate the holy sabbath.

As we previously reported, Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Health and the leader of the Israeli Orthodox Party Agudat Yisrael, wrote a letter to the Israeli government, urging them to change the dates, in order not to desecrate the Sabbath, which lasts roughly from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.

The actual grand final wouldn’t conflict with the Sabbath, as it airs after sundown. But the Friday night jury show and Saturday rehearsals most definitely would.

But isn’t Jerusalem hosting Eurovision 2019?

Recently senior officials within Israel’s Sports and Culture Ministry have given conflicting takes on Jerusalem’s presumed status as Eurovision 2019 host city.

Yossi Sharabi — the director-general of the Ministry — said that it’s not a given that Jerusalem will host. But Miri Regev, the Sport and Culture Minister, says she’ll suggest to the government that it’s “Jerusalem” or nothing.

She more recently told Time Out that her Ministry has not yet received a letter from Haifa regarding its intentions to bid.

What do you think? Is Haifa a viable option to host next year’s contest? Do you think that it would make for a less controversial run-up to Eurovision 2019? Let us know down below!

Read more Israel Eurovision news

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zeev
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zeev

today the Mayor of eilat said at tv that if not Jerusalem eilat went to host the euro-vision,

Escphbelgium
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Escphbelgium

Next time in HAIFA
#haifa2019

Ami
Guest
Ami

Guys, as an Israeli, I have to say – there’s nothing to do in Haifa. Believe me, you’re so much better off in Tel Aviv (a 24/7 city, LOTS of clubs and bars, high quality hotels, it’s really like a mini NYC). If TLV can’t host (because they don’t have a venue), it should be Jerusalem. Haifa is just boring.

Giordano
Guest
Giordano

But the mayor said they won’t bid ? of course I prefer TLV too as well.

igal
Guest
igal

But we prefer Haifa. Go sleep on your nose

Marty Mc
Guest
Marty Mc

Better choice in such a small country. There is a stunning view from Mount Carmel btw. I was there many years ago. Ferries come in from Cyprus. People from Haifa are proud of their city.

Marty Mc
Guest
Marty Mc

Cruise ships from Cyprus not ferries. Showing my age, they stopped back in 2006.

Nelly
Guest
Nelly

As long as it’s not Jerusalem, I’m good.

Gobio
Guest
Gobio

As an Israeli, it is the best city we have to offer for Eurovision.
It has the same capacity as Teddy, but much newer and better equipped, the transportation is better and there is much more room for events, conference etc. Plus, it is considerably close to Tel Aviv.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

I love Haifa, there’s something special about it and in the spirit of celebrating diversity it would be appropriate to hold the contest in a city where four religions (the three major monotheistic religions + the Bahá’í faith) coexist in [relative] peace. I still think Tel Aviv would be the best host, because where it comes to culture and night life it’s far superior and has a lot more to offer to Eurofans, especially those of the LGBT persuasion, and is likely to attract more tourist. Still, even if the contest will be held in Haifa eventually, Tel Aviv is… Read more »

Darren
Guest
Darren

Tel Aviv and Haifa are the best choices I think. These cities suit the Eurovision vibe a lot more than Jerusalem in my opinion.
Plus it stops all the hassle of boycotts (although I strongly believe that there wouldn’t have been any, with the exception of maybe Iceland).
Personally, I’m hoping for Tel Aviv, the most modern, friendly, party oriented city in Israel, it also looks nicer aesthetically than Jerusalem in my opinion.
Eurovision doesn’t always have to be in the “capital” city, just look a thing recent editions in Malmö, Düsseldorf and Istanbul.

LLilah
Guest
LLilah

“Aesthtically” have you ever been to Jerusalem? Its one of the most beautiful cities in the world..much more pretty than Tel aviv.
Tel aviv is more urbanic…but i agree with you that Tel aviv is the non stop city of Israel in a good way 🙂
Will you come if it will be in Tlv?

Darren
Guest
Darren

I’d love to visit Tlv if it becomes host city. Most definitely. It’s a city I always wanted to visit, even if ESC wasn’t happening.

LLilah
Guest
LLilah

You welcome always 🙂

Izhar Levy
Member

I’m Israeli and as much as I want Tel Aviv to host I must admit that Haifa is not suitable being a VERY boring city. With all due respect, and politics aside, Jerusalem is more suitable (after Tel Aviv imo)

RICK
Guest

Haifa would b perfect. Tel aviv or Haifa

beccaboo1212
Guest

Haifa it is. 🙂

Alex
Guest
Alex

ISRAEL 2019 IS SAVED!!!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Haifa would be a great idea. Both logistically and symbolically.

BRC
Guest
BRC

Great article Kristin!

LLilah
Guest
LLilah

Yes , Haifa is also a great choice..also Tel aviv, Jerusalem , Ashdod, OR maybe Eilat? 🙂

Israeli
Guest
Israeli

Eilat is too distanced and has no big arenas

LLilah
Guest
LLilah

But it has air port..it could be cool ..Eilat is great..lots of hotels ..beautiful beaches… the dolfins rif ..clubs.. and lots of nice areas to visit..the contestents will have their best time in eilat and could also go to visit jordan for a few hours..thats kind of speical exprinse dont you think?
But..thats a pity there is no big arenas there..i think its time for Europe to get to know more israelis cities beside Tel aviv and Jerusalem.israel have lots of beautiful and cool places.

Danny
Guest
Danny

It’s absolutely funny that they sent a letter to the ministry of culture to express the will to host.
1st problem: the head of that ministry is mrs ”Jerusalem or noting” Miri Regev.
2nd problem: the ministry of culture is not even remotly in charge of Eurovision. This mair is just a silly guy.

Israeli
Guest
Israeli

The ministry of culture can add more fun to the budget and has a say

Danny
Guest
Danny

It much more depends on mr. Kahlon. He’s in charge of the money. The ministry of culture has a limited budget anyway and a lot of other things to spend it on. Besides it has this crazy b*tch that nobody wants anywhere near Eurovision.

James
Guest
James

Roofing wouldn’t be a problem if a host city is chosen as early as possible so there woulf be time to install a roof.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Who will pay for that? It’s a project that will cost more than the whole hosting, and it will be used only for this event. Don’t expect the Israeli people be thrilled by this kind of waiste of public funds.

Israeli
Guest
Israeli

Why speak for Israelis? They will be

Danny
Guest
Danny

You just spoke for Israelis, I’m an Israeli and I’m not paying for that sh#t. Many will have the same opinion when they will realise the price tag.

Izhar Levy
Member

You just wanna fight and make provocations. Such a nasty commentator

Danny
Guest
Danny

Oh, sorry that I’m not willing to spend my tax payer money on a useless, megalomanic project such as a temporary roof over a huge stadium, while there are way cheaper options. That is such a nasty provocation from my side. I’m SO nasty.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Beautiful city!!
But this thing of “put a roof on it” happens every year, and we know how it ends.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Exactly, Ukraine is a great example. This cost a fortune, shuts down an entire stadium for at least half a year, harming the football league, and then it will be thrown to the garbage because nobody needs an indoor arena that big in a country where its barely ever raining. The Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv is the only place where roofing at least won’t hurt the football league, because it’s under massive renovation now anyway.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Israeli soccer teams are bad anyway, so…. I don’t think it really matters xD
And I say it as an Israeli.

Gobio
Guest
Gobio

The stadium is already half roofed.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Only over the seats. The most expensive part is not about “how much it needs to be covered”, but “how to do it”. I don’t know if you get my point, but I mean, financially, there’s no much difference between covering half and the whole stadium. The process would be the same for both cases.
That process is the most expensive and complicated part.

sevzch
Guest
sevzch

Yes yes and yes!!!