Speculation continues to teeter between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as potential host cities of Eurovision 2019. And now Israeli minister of culture Mrs Miri Regev, who has tirelessly argued on behalf of Jerusalem, has said the contest can take place in the city — despite furore over breaking Shabbat.
Speaking to Ynet, she made it clear that the state will not accept ultra Orthodox demands to avoid rehearsals on Shabbat should Jerusalem host Eurovision 2019. She said:
“The Israeli public broadcasting corporation [aka IPBA], who is discussing this issue with the EBU, hasn’t decided yet where Eurovision will take place, and therefore this question is irrelevant.”
“However, I can only assume that once this is decided [and Jerusalem becomes host] then rehearsals will take place on Saturday and we will need to explain this to the religious parties and to say that this is not at our discretion.”
“Eurovision always takes place on Saturday, this was also the case when Jerusalem hosted and we will have to come to an agreement with the religious parties on this matter”.
She stressed that Eurovision is not in jeopardy and pointed out that there will be “no constructions during Shabbat, only rehearsals”.
But Knesset Member Mr Μichael Malkiel, from SHAS (an Ultra Orthodox party), said in response that Regev is expected to avoid violation of the Shabbat.
“We want this to be without violating the Shabbat so that all preparations will take place on Thursday and only after the end of the holy day (Saturday at sunset – IL), the gates will be opened”.