It’s an endless thriller and it has less than 24 hours to run. And tonight Israel’s Eurovision 2019 security deposit saga really is reaching its climax.

As we reported yesterday, Israeli broadcaster KAN has warned the Israeli government that without the state’s financial support they will have no choice but to notify the EBU that Israel waives its right to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year.  The state responded that it has no intention to finance the contest because the independent broadcaster has enough resources in its budget — or, to be more precise, 750 million NIS per year. That’s 178 million euros.

On the eve of the deadline this bloody battle is only intensifying — and the repercussions extend far beyond Eurovision. According to Israel’s main news channels – Keshet and Reshet (Channels 12 and 13) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned KAN that if they execute their ultimatum, the Knesset, which is the Israeli parliament, will legislate a “speedy act” to permanently close KAN.

The crises between KAN and the Israeli government isn’t strictly a financial one. In fact, it’s mainly a political battle between the state, which  aims to have more control over the contents of KAN as a public channel, and KAN, which demands complete freedom and independence.

Historically, Israel has only had one television and radio channel — aka, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) — which was controlled by the state. One factor behind this was that Israel was in conflicts with its neighbours. This led to allegations of corruption.

In addition, the IBA became less “relevant” with the arrival of the commercial broadcasters Channel 12, Channel 13 and Channel 14. As a result, Netanyahu decided to close the IBA and establish a new public channel, now known as KAN, which began broadcasting in early 2017. KAN’s annual budget — as determined by law — hovers around 750M NIS per annum (175 million euros). In the eyes of the broadcaster, the unexpected responsibility to host an event such as Eurovision — which isn’t factored into that pre-existing annual budget — requires special resources. This  can only be made by amendments to the current act. This is why KAN insists on receiving the funds from the state.

It is believed that Netanyahu’s main goal is to wait until the last minute before finding a solution. This will help him to be perceived more positively before the forthcoming elections. Other commentators in the Israeli media suggest that Netanyahu’s final goal is to usher in KAN’s complete collapse, which will result in a new TV channel that is more effectively controlled by the state.

We will have to wait until tomorrow to see how this farce ends. Will  Eurovision in Israel be saved, as this is merely a battle of optics and politics? Or should an alternative host start getting ready? Stay tuned for more details on this endless drama.

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T.B
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T.B

I thought all the drama around Israel hosting was just a stunt to generate more views, every couple of weeks there was a new issue and it seemed ridicolus, but they sure seem serious this time. How sad that a musical event gets dragged down by politics.

I feel bad for Netta and the team. Hope they sort things out because this is disgraceful

Sue
Guest
Sue

They will make it, this is just a PR-stunt to make people more excited for ESC in Israel…Of course they have money!

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

Cyprus should have won. Pretty sure they would have sorted things out with less drama.

Kkkkk
Guest
Kkkkk

If israel will give up…most of chances cyprus will give up and then austria will host .

Lula
Guest
Lula

The mayor of Tel Aviv just posted on facebook they are willing to fund the arena! This saves ALOT of money so it might solve the problem hopefully…

omg.esc
Guest
omg.esc

Lets hope!

Joe
Guest
Joe

The EBU said they’re working with Kan on arrangements and say they’re confident, so I’m trying not to panic.

NoGeoblocks
Guest
NoGeoblocks

Bibis wet dream.
Evil evil man.

LawStudent
Guest
LawStudent

I’m willing to bet that there will be a last-minute resolution to this mess. Israel is not going to give up this opportunity. Not after what happened with Messi.

LawStudent
Guest
LawStudent

All I got to say are two words: CALLED IT!

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Someone mentioned a good point – we are talking about Israel here. Although Israel is in an endless war right now, it usually gets worse each summer for a while and Eurovision is in May… And in general, what if Israel will find themselves under attacks? Would fans still feel safe to visit Israel and watch Eurovision live from the arena? The government could really help a bit… If everything goes fine, they will have their money back from tourism and tickets sales I believe. I wish we were less dramatic here in Israel… Hurts to say it, but I… Read more »

Berlin Xmas market
Guest
Berlin Xmas market

And another terror attack happened in London today,
Maybe the Eurovision should move to Nice? Or bataclan Paris? Or Brussels? Or Berlin? Or Manchester?! After all they all safe European cities?! Lol

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

You do realise it is super common in Israel, right?
Almost on a daily basis including rockets some times.

Henry
Guest
Henry

If they can’t host it, ask Cyprus to sort out if they can in 1 week, if they can’t host it, give it to Austria and so on. Austria, Germany, and Italy could easily host it. It’d be even cooler if Czechia did it though.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Netanyahu seems like a bit of a bell end

allexo
Guest
allexo

Israel better forfeit this contest, because they REALLY don’t deserved AT ALL, KAN and the government are acting like snakes,

Joseph Larkin
Guest
Joseph Larkin

At this point as mich as want Eurovision to be hosted by the previous winner. This is a farce. Eurovision is not some political pawn or something to use to your will as an excuse to look a certain way. All sides are acting like spoiled children. This is the deposit stage. What kind of farce are we to expect when we get to the more serious business of staging this? If this continues KAN really deserve to loose the hosting rights . Eurovision deserves respect and not be a pawn in some dispute

Henry
Guest
Henry

I personally love the drama, makes it much more exciting

David
Guest
David

This is so sad. This is such a great opportunity to show Israel to millions of people around the world. To show off Israel as a modern, thriving country. It would be crazy to waste this opportunity!

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

This is more dramatic than a Mexican Telenovela!

Dave
Guest
Dave

It would be better if ESC always stayed in western Europe. Easterners have many problems.

LawStudent
Guest
LawStudent

Israel is not in Eastern Europe lol

Denis
Guest
Denis

It is sad when leaders and governments are trying to influence, shape and form broadcasters in any way. The point of public broadcasters is that they are free and indpendent.
Seems like Benjy wants to join the same league as Erdogan, Orban and others who wants to hollow out democracy. Sad that it involves ESC this time!

florin
Guest
florin

another dictator aftwr russia and turkey.. now israel

Ron Kavaler
Editor

Stupid boy 😛

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It’s very sad watching a valued Eurovision broadcaster self-destruct. If anyone at KAN is reading this: Please sort your budget out.
If you have the funds, host Eurovision.
If you don’t have the funds, pull out.
It really is that simple.

Gorilla716
Guest
Gorilla716

I’m guessing Israel regrets winning Eurovision now that they’ve ended up in this mess.

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

No we don’t. Even if we don’t host, we are still the winners of 2018 and no-one can take it away from us.

Candy
Guest
Candy

This is getting even more annoying… can’t they get their sh*t together? Bunch of children on both sides, it seems. It’s such a bummer if they ruin Israel’s chance to host ESC.

ThePify
Guest
ThePify

No offense to Israelis, but this man is nuts.

James
Guest
James

As an Israeli, none taken!

James
Guest
James

This is crazy.
According to Ha’aretz newspaper, btw, Netanyahu’s threat to shut down KAN is empty – as he is legally prohibited to interfere like this, and will not receive the Knesset’s support. But in any case, this is CRAZY.

Also, local news in Israel report that according to Israeli sources the main alternative that the EBU considers is Austria.

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

Top three of the most controversial Eurovision events:
1. ESC 2019 in God knows where
2. ESC 2017 in Kyiv
3. ESC 2009 in Moscow

German
Guest
German

Where is Baku?

Dave
Guest
Dave

That one would probably be 4th. God, it’s so good when a western country hosts the show. Eastern countries always have some problems.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

1969 in Franco’s Spain caused a few rumblings too, I believe.