On Friday afternoon the official Eurovision Twitter account took a break from tweeting “favourite song” polls to reveal some news. The Eurovision 2019 host city hasn’t been decided. That’s despite endless reporting from Israeli media that broadcaster KAN has already suggested Tel Aviv; an interview with Jon Ola Sand saying that Shabbat must not interfere with hosting; and a statement from (the usually unbending) Culture & Sports Minister Miri Regev saying that Tel Aviv could win the race.
Writing on Twitter, the EBU said:
“Despite ongoing media speculation, no decision has yet been made by the EBU as to which city will host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.”
“Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have both submitted extremely strong bids which meet the needs of the Contest.”
“We are examining the proposals carefully in order to choose the best overall location for next year’s event.”
“When a decision has been reached the host city will be revealed via our official channels.”
Many of you think they’re just blowing hot air and that Tel Aviv has already been decided on. The announcement could merely be a means of buying time while they wait on officials to respond to paperwork, or part of a broader campaign to appease certain politicians by making it look like Jerusalem is still in the race.
Eurovision 2019 dates
In any case, today’s announcement came just hours after Israeli media Mako reported that the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will “probably” take place on May 25.
The report echoed what we’ve been hearing for months: that the likely venue is Pavillon 2 at the Tel Aviv International Exhibition Centre (aka, the Fairgrounds).
It went on to say that the EBU hasn’t announced the date and location because it is waiting on Prime Minister Netanyahu to respond to their earlier correspondences, which include a detailed agenda of rules and regulations, and follows an earlier letter in which they requested that the PM and other politicians avoid interfering with production and that the government must welcome visitors — whatever their political beliefs.
And all of this follows a rather confident letter sent from Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai to Eurovision boss Jon Ola Sand.
In it he re-iterated that — unlike Jerusalem — Tel Aviv doesn’t have an issue with staging rehearsals during Shabbat. He wrote:
“Tel Aviv-Yafo is a ‘Nonstop City’ of culture and leisure offering regular weekend public transportation in the form of ‘share-route’ lines of minibuses on main transport lines, serving all hotels and tourists.”
“Therefore we look forward with much anticipation to hosting the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv-Yafo.”
Obviously this letter has to be taken at face value. It’s not a confirmation that Tel Aviv is hosting, but seems like a very confident mayor pleading his case.
Time will tell. The announcement is expected in the coming days…