Despite recent obstacles and disputes between Israel’s national broadcaster KAN and the government of Israel, it now seems that preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 have officially started.

As we previously reported, KAN has still not paid the 12 million euro deposit required by the EBU. Thankfully KAN asked for an extension so that it could negotiate the funding channels with the government (aka, who is going to pay and how much will each party contribute). The EBU agreed to extend the deadline until 14 August 2018.

According to Ynet, Israel’s leading news website, everything is now back on track following a productive meeting between the broadcaster and the government. The two sides have reportedly discussed an estimated budget of NIS 150 million, or around 35 million euros. The actual bill for the taxpayer will be around NIS 100 million, or around 23.5 million euros. The remaining third of the budget — NIS 50 million (11.5 million euros) will come from ticket sales and promotions.

A day before the deadline to submit the €12 million ($14m) security deposit to host Eurovision 2019, the EBU has given KAN an extension. As Israel’s Maariv newspaper reports, the Geneva-based body is now giving KAN until August 14 to come up with the funds — and to negotiate the guarantee that was offered by the state in lieu of security funds. In their response to KAN’s request for an extension, the EBU has indicated that the “process is critical” — implying perhaps that no more extensions will be given. In an urgent letter dated July 30, and that was addressed to Minister of Communication Ayoob Kara, KAN’s CEO Gil Omer stated that KAN will not be able to produce Eurovision without the guarantee. #eurovisionsongcontest #eurovision2019 #eurovision #esc2019

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Despite the broad agreement about the overall budget, KAN and the state have not settled the terms regarding the deposit. KAN says that without the government’s assistance, it will not be able to transfer the funds by the deadline unless 200 employees are let go or other budget cuts are made.

The government refuses to pay the funds, although it has agreed to provide a guarantee to KAN in case it defaults on the payment. This dispute is thought to be political (and not financial) and that a solution will eventually be found. Curiously, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very keen to host Eurovision…though it is not clear whether that is because he is a fan of the contest or because of his political goal of showing the world that Israel can host an international event. Whatever the reason, this is good news for Eurovision, as it means that the “crisis” is almost over and preparations are in full swing.

In the meantime, it looks as if the next Israeli candidate for Eurovision 2019 will once again be selected by The Next Star, as has been the case since 2015. This detail is not yet final nor confirmed.

As in the dispute between KAN and the state, negotiations between KESHET — the producer of The Next Star — and KAN are ongoing. In this instance the disagreements regard technical issues rather than money. Initially, KAN had launched a tender for Eurovision 2019 but according to Ynet, The Next Star is still preferred by the broadcaster.

Who will host Eurovision 2019?

The rumour mill is already spinning, and it’s spit out two names with high frequency.

Erez Tal, 57, is one of Israel’s most respected TV and radio personalities. Tal is the leading candidate, as he was the commentator during Eurovision 2018 and received incredibly positive feedback. In fact, he is the one who called on Israelis to “forget about work” and go to Kikar Rabin to celebrate the nation’s fourth victory (as they did when Dana International won in 1998).

But according to Israel Hayom newspaper, Assi Azar is also a possible candidate, having reportedly had a secret meeting with KAN’s CEO earlier this week. Azar, 39, has been the co-host of The Next Star since 2015 (alongside Rotem Sella, whose candidacy has also been unofficially rumoured). Azar previously co-hosted the Israeli version of the Big Brother with Erez Tal for six seasons between 2010 and 2015, before leaving to host The Next Star. Could they be chosen to host together again?

Read more Israel Eurovision news

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Joe Rail
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Joe Rail
srulik
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srulik

I figure we will have two hosts, Erez and Assi, though Erez tal said he is willing to stay on as commentator. the two of them are very good hosts with them “slamming” at eache other for fun and have hosted together for a long time.

David
Guest
David

Maybe Bar Refaeli could join them? She is also an experienced host, and very beautiful…

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

She’s not a good host…

Denis
Guest
Denis

At first glance I thought the title read ” Aziz Ansari rumoured to host”
That would have been interesting!

ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)
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ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)

I have a question about the hosts in general: Have there ever been openly LGBT-hosts? I cannot imagine anyone in the latest history. Our 4 Lisbon girls are straight, the 3 Kiev boys, Petra and Mans… Can anybody refer to a lesbian or gay presenter? If so, please leave a reply here 🙂 Btw, I see Conchita aka Tom as the Greenroom host in 2015. But “main” presenters who are LGBTs??

James
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James

Interesting question… So if Assi Azar gets the gig next year, that might be a first?

Oleido
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Oleido

The 4 lisbon girls are NOT straight. Filomena is Lesbian.

Joe
Guest
Joe

If we’re being super technical, Graham Norton co-hosted the 60th anniversary special.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Also Katrina Leskanich presented the 50th special.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Yigal Ravid, host of the 1999 contest, is openly gay. He’s not as outspoken about the issue as assi azar is, perhaps because it was less acceptable in his generation, but he never hid it.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Israel’s awesome at this! I hope they keep it up.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I was under the impression that Alex from 2017 is gay, and proud.

Cocooo
Guest
Cocooo

Alex is not gay lol

Oleido
Guest
Oleido

I only know about filomena and she’s not straight.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

It seems that some people just assume heterosexuality unless they see flashing neon “gay” signs hanging from people’s necks.

Maya
Guest
Maya

What about MAYA WERTHIEMER ??? She is my choice ! https://www.instagram.com/mayawertheimer/

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

I thought about her too! She would be great. Regardless of her name.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

My top choice would be Noa Tishbi, she would be an amazing host and I hope they’re considering her.

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

Assi is a funny guy, But I don’t know how will Europeans perceive him.
He shouldn’t breast-feed Ben-El’s bag live in Eurovision, that’s for sure 😀

https://www.mako.co.il/tv-the-next-star/video?subChannelId=021e86975c86f510VgnVCM2000002a0c10acRCRD

CINAN
Editor

Assi Azar should really host! He is such a nice person and a very talented one.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

i can confirm that the rising star will determine the candidate as auditions have already started and i auditioned myself. also assi and erez are the best duo, they used to host big brother together.

CINAN
Editor

Good luck!

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

Well, did you make the screen go up? 🙂

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

screen auditions are not now, i was in the early stages

Paul
Guest
Paul

Are all Israeli men that hot?!! Also 57?! Are u sure!!

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

I wouldn’t say Erez Tal is hot, far from it. But he does look good for his age.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Gotta love a Daddy!

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

incoming *petra should host every year* comments 😛

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

I’ve already said that the perfect trio to host is Erez Tal, Assi Azar and Rotem Sela
Celebrating diversity in so many aspects and they all know each other and are good friends of each other
Very experienced (alone and with each other), interesting, funny and talented
3 of them should and deserve to host it together 🙂

Or Amir
Guest

I think everything will be fine. Israel has different mentality than Europe . We love unfortunately to do things in last minute but eventually We are doing it very good.
*The Eurovision will probably be in pavilion 2.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Hallelujah!

Yanis2Y
Guest
Yanis2Y

Yes to Assi! I really liked him while watching this season of Hakokhav HaBa, and figured he could be a perfect host for Eurovision !