As we already know, “Everybody Dance” is the guiding concept for this year’s Eurovision postcards — the introductory segments that air just before each act performs. This year each participant will dance in one of Israel’s stunning landscapes accompanied by professional dancers. These are being filmed as we speak, as more and more delegations arrive in Israel for their shoot.
But according to Walla!, one of Israel’s leading news portals, some parts of Israel will not be included in the postcards. We’re speaking of sites which are in the occupied territories — or “disputed territories” as they are referred to in Israel.
First, a brief history lesson. Since the Six Days War — fought by Israel on one side and Egypt, Jordan and Syria on the other — Israel has controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These territories are considered occupied Palestinian territories under international law (or “disputed” territories, under Israeli law).
During the 1990s, Israel and the Palestinians agreed that the final status of these territories will be resolved in negotiations but no peace treaty has been signed yet. So these areas are still controlled by Israel. Another — the Gaza Strip — has been under Palestinian control since 2005 (though Israel is still thought to control its borders, airspace and coast).
Curiously, it was KAN that decided to exclude these territories from the postcards. That’s surprising because KAN is a public organ of the state.
One explanation is that KAN is following the EBU’s rules — namely, to avoid any political references. The other is that KAN is exacting “revenge” against the Israeli government over the many disputes the two have had since Israel’s victory at Eurovision 2018 last May. These include a high-profile spat between KAN officials and some right-wing politicians, who wanted to control the content of the broadcaster. And then there was the whole drama over who would pay for the contest itself.
KAN’s decision has once again drawn the attention of Mrs. Miri Regev, the Israeli Culture and Sport minister. Speaking to Srugim, a website for the religious sector, she criticized KAN and advised them to reconsider their selection and to include locations from the said areas.
“This is an unfortunate decision. The West Bank [in Hebrew: Judea and Samaria] forms an integral part of Israel and I will not allow this”.
But despite Regev’s threats, it is unlikely that KAN’s decision will be challenged. Since Tel Aviv has been declared host city, politicians have refrained from interfering with the production, probably because the EBU has backed KAN — but also because of their discontent that Jerusalem lost the race of host city to Tel Aviv back in September. KAN’s official response to Walla! is that their decision is purely professional.
“The postcards play an important role as regards Israel’s tourism industry. The choice of the locations aims to give [millions of] viewers a glance of the country’s landscape. Eurovision is by no means a political event and this also includes the choice of locations, which is purely artistic”.
There is, however, one exception. Israel’s representative, Kobi Marimi, will be filmed at the Western Wall, which is located at the very core of East Jerusalem just below Al-Aqsa temple — the third holiest place for Muslims.
Eurovision 2019 postcard locations
The filming of the postcards started in early March and is ongoing. According to Walla!, the following delegations have already completed their shoot.
1. France – Bilal Hassani: Tel Aviv Museum of Art
2. Spain – Miki Núñez: HaKarmelit — Israel’s first underground in Haifa
3. Georgia – Oto Nemsadze: The Old City of Acre
4. The UK – Michael Rice: The Bahai Gardens in Haifa
5. San Marino – Serhat: A solar energy field in the Negev
6. Belgium –Eliot: The Ramon Crater in the Negev
7. Czech Republic – Lake Malawi: The Old City of Caesarea
8. Cyprus – Tamta: The City of Eilat
9. Ireland – Sarah McTernan: Kibutz Eilot
10. The Netherlands – Duncan Laurence: Mount Arbel in the Galilee
11. Switzerland – Luca Hänni: Tel Aviv – HaBima National Theatre
View this post on Instagram
Hello from Tel Aviv – what a beautiful city ❤️ just a flying visit but had such an amazing time! Thank you so much to all the lovely people I met had so much fun shooting the post card for the @eurovision in May, such an incredible experience! Can’t reveal too much of what we were up to but you’ll see soon 🎉 eekkk ❤️ . . #israel #telaviv #22 #irish #eurovision #eurovision2019 #sarious #sarahmcternan #irishdeligation #ireland
It is also rumoured that more artists have already filmed their postcards in the following locations. Judging from their various Insta accounts, the rumours do seem to mirror reality.
12. Russia – Sergey Lazarev: Jerusalem
13. Portugal – Conan Osiris: The Dead Sea
14. Finland – Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman – Over the roof of Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv
15. Norway – KEiiNO – the Judea Desert
What do you think about KAN’s decision? Would you have preferred that they include the disputed territories? Share your thoughts in the comments’ sections.