On Thursday the mayor of Haifa told Time Out that his people would be submitting an official bid to become Eurovision 2019 host city. And today Israeli media are reporting that Haifa will be joined by three other cities in an open tender process: Tel Aviv, Eilat and, of course, Jerusalem.
Echoing an evening news report from Channel 20, Haaretz reports that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a conference call on Friday. Speaking with the country’s Attorney General and its Ministers of Finance and Communications, he said that he would respect “any decision” of the European Broadcasting Union.” The government, in short, will not interfere with the selection process — despite his earlier insistence, and that of numerous politicians, that Jerusalem already had hosting duties sewn up.
It seems that the EBU is as open-minded. Despite its reported upset over comments from various politicians, which pre-supposed Jerusalem as host city, it’s reportedly fine with Jerusalem hosting — so long as there is a detailed tender.
The paper claims that members of the EBU will meet with officials from KAN — Israel’s broadcaster — next week to discuss the bids submitted by the four cities.
We’ve not seen their bids. But here’s a quick overview of what each city has to offer (and in alphabetical order).
Israel’s southern port city is known for its natural beauty. The resort town rests on the Red Sea and is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Its geographic location and healthy tourism industry means it offers plenty of hotels, restaurants and, of course, beaches.
Lonely Planet says describes it as “brash, ugly and almost inevitably crowded, a place where being scantily clad and sunburned is the rule rather than the exception.” EuroClub, calling!
The mayor of Haifa, Yoni Yahav, described the city’s offerings well when speaking to Time Out.
“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.”
It’s one of the most historic cities in the world and holds immense significance for Christians, Jews and Muslims. And while its international status is disputed and highly controversial, all sides agree it’s home to some of the most important buildings and religious sites in the world.
And it has plenty of experience hosting Eurovision. 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
Israel’s second most populous city boasts a stunning Mediterranean coastline and attracts more than 2.5 million international travellers every year. They stay at hotels at every price point — from hostels to über luxe — and enjoy some of the wildest nightlife in all of the Middle East. We’re huge fans of the city and have attended the last three editions of Israel Calling.
There are three potential venues.
Bloomfield Stadium is a 14,000-capacity football venue currently undergoing renovations that will raise its capacity to 29,000. It’s scheduled for completition in 2019, but would need a roof. Its hosted acts including Rihanna and The Black Eyed Peas.
The Tel Aviv Convention Center is a significantly smaller venue which hosts a minimum of 45 events a year. There are a variety of Pavilions of varying sizes.
And finally the Menora Mivtachim Arena, which is used primarily for basketball, can host around 11,000 for sporting events, but just 6,000 people for concerts
Which city appeals the most to you? Where do you want to see Eurovision 2019?