Call it the calm after the storm: Eurovision host broadcaster KAN has finally agreed to pay the €12 million security deposit to the EBU to ensure that Israel will host Eurovision 2019. This ends the long crisis between KAN and the Israeli government which, at various points, put Israel at risk of losing its right to host the contest.

Amid the back and forth between KAN’s CEO and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the mayor of Tel Aviv quietly put in a few jabs of his own. Mr Ron Huldai criticised the government and said that it lacks a “responsible adult”, taking a swipe at the PM who had, until the very last moment, refused to end the crisis.

One man’s stubbornness is another man’s PR opportunity: Huldai offered to absorb some of the costs that KAN will incur hosting the event.

Writing on his Facebook page on Monday, Huldai said:

“Once again there is no responsible adult. Just as they drove Messi out of Israel, now they are driving away the Eurovision.”

“Eurovision is broadcast to billions of viewers around the world – regardless of the host city — and could expose Israel’s beauty for those who aren’t familiar with it.”

“The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality is ready to join the national effort and pay for the costs of the venue – a central cost of the event. Maybe it will help those who are still climbing trees instead of finding solutions.”

Eurovision Village 2019

In the meantime, the host city race is approaching its climax with the promised September reveal right around the corner. Following Huldai’s earlier pledge to fund the venue for Eurovision, he has today suggested that Tel Aviv should build Eurovision Village by the seashore. Although he was reluctant to voice his enthusiasm back in May — saying only that he’d consider hosting Eurovision if KAN approached him — he has become increasingly vocal that Tel Aviv is the best host city option.

Eurovision Village — a public space where fans with or without tickets to the contest can gather for concerts — is a focal point of the Eurovision fortnight. According to Time Out Israel, the proposed area for Tel Aviv’s Eurovillage is Charles Clore Park, which is situated in southeastern Tel Aviv on the coastline. You may recognise it from our breathless interview with Juri Pootsman ahead of Israel Calling 2016 — there’s lots of exercise equipment and stunning views of the sea.

The park was opened in 1974 and renovated in 2007. In recent years it has hosted the annual Tel Aviv Pride parties. It is also known for its yearly food markets. Huldai said that the Eurovision Village will be bigger than the one in Lisbon with many restaurants, bars and shows running during rehearsals. He also reiterated that there will be no entrance fee and that both semi-finals and the grand final will be broadcast live on its big screens.

KAN has criticised Huldai’s most recent statements. The broadcaster’s representatives suggest that they were made merely to drum up support ahead of forthcoming elections as the mayor attempts to be re-elected for a fifth term on behalf of the opposition Labour Party. They also made it clear that under the EBU rules, the host city is required to fund both the venue and the Eurovision Village anyway!

The race for hosting Eurovision is still open. As we reported yesterday, there are currently three possible host cities – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Eilat. Curiously, a boutique hotel which is situated very close to the Jerusalem Pais Arena has been fully booked for May 2019, as reported in Time Out Israel. Is this only a coincidence? Or maybe secret co-ordination between KAN and the government implying that Jerusalem will eventually become the host city? Aie aie aie.

Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments box below!

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Jo.
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Jo.

Are they rushing or dragging? It’s almost FiKmas!

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

I don’t think tge size of the arena really matters as people here are saying, it will still look great and with good camera work, even big.
I simply know Tel Aviv would be a great host city 🙂

Joe
Guest
Joe

Well, here’s one less boycott to worry about: after all that fuss, Ireland have confirmed participation!

Rick
Guest

ireland were always going to participate? they held a eurovision forum which was confirmation in itself.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Just good to make it official.

Rick
Guest

yh true

Rick
Guest

tel aviv in bloomfield stadium please. I know people are saying that it has no roof which will take time and money but considering the fact that the renovations will be done in march 19, and in 2012 they built a massive 20,000 arena in 8-10 months, they can surely add a retractable or temporary roof structure before may. The convention center has a lot of different pavillion which can be used for green rooms, meet and greet, dressing rooms etc, but the venue itself is way too small imo.

Ana
Guest
Ana

The cost of the rapid construction of the crystal hall, according to wikipedia, was 350 million dollars. That is HUGE money that a sane country would never spend for one event. A roof over Bloomfield will cost millions of dollars that absolutely no one is willing to spend. This was irrelevant from the beginning.

Rick
Guest

a canadian israeli billionaire is donating money out of his own pocket just to make sure its the best eurovision in years so why cant they put it towards a roof?

Ana
Guest
Ana

Nobody is donating nothing. The guy reportedly said he’s “willing to help”, no actual donation or even an estimate amount of it wasn’t mentioned. Besides, no jewish billionaire will donate money to an even in Tel Aviv. They are all somehow religious and like to throw money on Jerusalem. When Tel Aviv is most likely to host, he will not give one dollar to this production.

Rick
Guest

i read the canadian israeli billionaire is going to make a donation out of his pocket to ensure its the best eurovision in years, i saw that a number of times, so i think its true.

David
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David

Maybe it is the same Candadian Jew, who paid personally to have the start of Giro D’Italia in Israel?

Henry
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Henry

People complaining about the venue size in 1,2,3…. Most of ya’ll will be watching Eurovision in your couches so don’t worry. I personally would prefer to watch the jury final in the arena to see what the juries are judging and watch the real Saturday show in a hotel room enjoying it from the perspective of televoters.

Idan Cohen
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Idan Cohen

Agreed, why would people care about the number of seats anyway? only the stage is important. if it’s 10K or 30K why the hell would it matter to me, a person who’s watching this event at home?

NoGeoblocks
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NoGeoblocks

I think one of the complaints of Eurovision 2018 was that the village was too far from the village. This idea is nice but the proposed venue is way uptown while the park is all the way in the south. Not sure this is a great idea. There are other parks in the north of Tel Aviv that might be more suitable.

NoGeoblocks
Guest
NoGeoblocks

village was too far from the venue, Sorry

Paul
Guest
Paul

My biggest complaint was there wasn’t enough going on in the village

David
Guest
David

Agree. The venue is basically in a park!

Joe
Guest
Joe

While I agree with the “responsible adults” remark, he should’ve kept his mouth shut – when Tel Aviv is the best possible city to host, you can’t risk offending the higher-ups. I really hope he nails this and we don’t have to start worrying about boycotts.

Ana
Guest
Ana

The Eurovillage would not be a problem, the venue is rather.. Underwhelming in size. But they will have to prepare a lemonade from this small lemon.

Rick
Guest

hopefully they dont chose the convention center. fingers crossed, noone wants to watch eurovision at home seeing a tiny venue on tv.

Ana
Guest
Ana

There are no other options. No one is going to cover stadiums, it wasn’t even proposed. The EBU doesn’t want the risk and Israel doesn’t want the costs. If the EBU wanted a huge venue they would make the minimal demand much higher than 8k. Who could stop them from doing that? That would force Israel to search for a bigger solution or give up hosting months ago. The EBU prefers a small and ready to go venue over an oversized project that might not be ready in time.