Speaking to KAN on Thursday evening — August 30 — EBU Executive and Supervisor Jon Ola Sand eliminated Eilat as a potential host city of Eurovision 2019. That leaves only two options on the table – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
But Mr Sand had a clear message for the host city: namely that hosting Eurovision without having the possibility to work on Saturday is impossible. This may suggest that Tel Aviv will win the honour of hosting the contest — it’s more secular than Jerusalem, which is the centre of the country’s Ultra Orthodox population — but we will have to wait until next week when a final decision will be made.
During his interview, he delivered some interesting announcements regarding next year’s contest.
Here are the biggest highlights.
1. Eilat does not meet the requirements
Jon Ola said that after good meetings with all candidates, Eilat was overruled because they do not have the right venue.
“We discussed their proposal, which I very much appreciated because it was out of the box but unfortunately we had to decline their offer because the venue they proposed doesn’t meet our requirements”.
2.The shabbat issue
When asked to address the ultraorthodox demands to avoid rehearsals during Shabbat, he made it clear that this is impossible.
“To do the Eurovision Song Contest you have to be able to work 24/7 for all the weeks not only the production week and the rehearsal week, but the weeks before when you build up and set the site and adjust the venue, and I regret to say that there is no way that Eurovision song contest can be hosted anywhere without having the possibility to work also through Saturdays. This is absolutely impossible and paramount for us.”
3. The political events surrounding Eurovision
He also commented on the endless headlines since Netta’s victory — and input from various political leaders. Not all of their comments have been true.
“I sense that it’s actually the same every year — it always creates a lot of attention in the winning country. There are a lot of people positioning themselves that would like to take a part in it and have a statement about it and all of this is quite natural. But when the dust settles and when we get to talk to the broadcaster, which actually is our counterpart, not the government or the city, it’s getting more quiet. But I followed the Israeli media and not everything was true”.
4. Boycott threats
Finally, he was asked about the threats to boycott Eurovision — and in particular from Ireland — and he said that this is not serious.
“We’ve had no serious talks about this and especially not from our members, they’re all comfortable and they all believe that Israel can host it very well.”
A decision about the host city will be made next week so we except more dramas from Israel.
What do you think? Are we heading to Tel Aviv? Or will Jerusalem finally win again and become host for the third time?