Rarely a Eurovision season goes by without a bit of drama unfurling in the host country. And yesterday saw the latest crisis, when it emerged that Israeli security services had been ordered to stop preparations for their work at Expo Tel Aviv following disagreements over the source of their funding. Luckily, the Prime Minister’s Office has now agreed to supply the relevant funds and work can continue.

But what was the drama actually about?

On Sunday evening, Zivit Davidovitch, the executive supervisor of this year’s contest, posted a video to her Facebook page from inside the Eurovision 2019 host venue. In the post she commented: “Feeling ashamed of my country. The ESC pavilion – empty because of police strike against the event.”

Feeling ashamed of my country. The ESC pavilion- empty because of police strike against the event.

Posted by Zivit Davidovitch on Sunday, March 31, 2019

However, it was later revealed that police were not striking against the event. Rather, Israeli media reported that the Ministry of Public Security had told security forces to stop their preparations after not receiving the promised funding.

Last week, following months of negotiations between the EBU, Israel’s public broadcaster KAN and the Israeli government, it was decided that the NIS 7.5 million (~ €1,800,000) budget for security around Eurovision would be divided equally between five bodies: KAN, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Finance.

However, the Ministry of Tourism later refused to pay their NIS 1.5 million share of the budget, stating that security is not their responsibility. As a result of this, both the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Communications would not pay their share either.

The Ministry of Public Security confirmed that security preparations would not go ahead until there was a commitment to pay the required money.

This naturally did not sit well with KAN and the EBU.

In a letter to each of the ministries, the CEO of KAN, Eldad Koblenz, noted that if security personnel were not present then there was a real danger that construction inside Expo Tel Aviv would not be finished on time: “We urgently want to warn that as long as these jobs do not begin as early as tomorrow morning, there is a real danger that the corporation will not be able to complete the construction work by the required date”.

A joint letter from Jon Ola Sand, ESC executive supervisor, and Frank-Dieter Freiling, chairman of the Eurovision reference group, was also sent to Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In the strongly-worded document, published by Calcalist, they gave more details about why security services needed to be in attendance during the construction:

In our meeting of last October, you personally confirmed that the Eurovision Song Contest is
an event of national importance for which security is the responsibility of the state; you
guaranteed that the state will take all necessary steps to ensure that an event of such
importance would be treated accordingly and that safety for all elements of the Eurovision
Song Contest will be secured. It is already irritating enough that over the last few months
there has been constant discussions on who is paying what for the external security
measures around the Eurovision Song Contest. This all culminated yesterday, as we learned
that the Israeli police has been instructed not to proceed with the inspection of the venue and
equipment (so-called “K9 bomb search routine”) at the Eurovision Song Contest Venue.

Needless to say that with the level of exposure of an event like the Eurovision Song Contest,
it is essential that such K9 bomb search routine be undertaken in all parts of the venue and
for all entering equipment in line with state of the art security rules. Please be advised that
this search routine has always been undertaken in all countries where the ESC has taken
place in the past years and refraining from doing so would be unprecedented.

The EBU fully supports KAN’s statement issued yesterday and work cannot resume without
the K9 bomb search routine being appropriately undertaken. Without a rapid turnaround of
this instruction, the delays entailed by the absence of this essential security measure will
have severe and significant negative consequences on the ability to hold the rehearsals on
time and thus on the budget and on the quality of the shows that will be broadcast out of Tel
Aviv.

The hosting of Eurovision is a massive operation. And as might be expected, the failure of one detail can have a large knock-on effect on the entire production.

Thankfully, a solution for the crisis was eventually found. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that it would transfer the required amount of money in order to finance the security of Eurovision 2019.

Now that the financial matters appear to have been solved, work can once again begin on bringing Eurovision 2019 to Tel Aviv. Only 46 days to go!

What do you make of this latest crisis? Are you glad that a solution was found relatively quickly? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more Eurovision 2019 news here

Read more Tel Aviv news here

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[…] has it and 2019 is, happily for those in love with glittery drama, no exception, according to Wiwibloggs, who are reporting that an issue over who was funding security at Eurovision has now been resolved […]

Izhar Levy
Editor

Just a reminder – there is a bigger venue in Israel but it’s located in Jerusalem. Israel had no choice but to host in Tel Aviv which has a smaller venue. You can’t kill the messenger.. besides, size doesn’t (always) matter 🙂

Albert
Guest
Albert

at the end, it will be the best show ever

bitch 2
Guest
bitch 2

sweden was best

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

As I said before It’s not important the size, but the way you use it. Unfortunately I see a lot of problems, more than usual. I’m pretty worry but I know that Israelis will do it great at the last moment, at least I hope so…

Rob
Guest
Rob

It’s just ridiculous, holding the ESC when a Netanyahu-government is in power. I honestly hope that the Israeli people will let common sense prevail over fear this coming election.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Thank you, I hope so too.
Netanyahu damaged Israel in almost every possible way and I’ll be over the moon if he loses next week (and devastated if he wins).

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

I hope you the best darling, somebody else has to win

Izhar Levy
Editor

Unfortunately he’s gonna win again:(

INAMOO
Guest
INAMOO

I feel like I am getting second hand embarrassment from this. Really sorry for the locals who only wanted to experience the most of Eurovision in their country, only to be halted or limited by their confusing government.

Ana
Guest
Ana

Oh it’s ok, the locals have chose those clowns for a government. Now they have to deal with it

Nadav
Guest
Nadav

You think Tel Avivians voted for Likud? Good one.

Ana
Guest
Ana

The Tel Avivians are not organizing the contest. The Israelis are. This thing is funded by public money of all public, not only by the Tel Aviv public.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

It seems my comment didn’t make it here.
So it’s time to guess my view on the topic. Clue: It is the same as it has been for the past 10 years. 😉

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Update: My comment was later “cleared” to appear, and now appears further below.

KESC
Guest
KESC

Lol, that hall looks only twice as big as my old school’s auditorium. 😀

Ron Kavaler
Editor

Soldi, Soldi…

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

*clap clap*

Mirko
Guest
Mirko

Of course organise the song contest is an hard issue, but this is gonna be so freaking ridiculous. Israel 2019 has definitely reached more drama than Kiev 2017 ’cause now we have the all packages: economical, security matters, religious aspect, political problems, boycotting people

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

people should just not boycot but keep their mouths shut

pastel de nata
Guest
pastel de nata

freedom of speech says hi!

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

oh yeah true i forgot about that 🙂

then boycot all you want

Pok
Guest
Pok

Jeez, the venue is freaking small. It’s like a place for a small concert.

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

so what, i don’t care it is 2019 so small is the new big

all those uptempo songs can’t win then, GOOD thankfully everything is being rigged for our destined eurovision champ King Duncan

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

you’re the perfect example of why i think duncan stans are by far the most annoying ones this year

congrats, you’ve surpassed the croatian spam poll voters

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

i a duncan stan, LOL i am not a heavy support for him

Hmm
Guest
Hmm

According to wikipedia pavilion 2 will have room for 9000 and pavillion 1 (greenroom) 1500. Seems small to me even san marino can host that size 😀

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

then don’t watch this years eurovision contest, if ur gonna be a negative moaner

Ana
Guest
Ana

This doesn’t matter what wikipedia says because the Eurovision stage and camera equipment take more place than an average event. There will be about 7300 people in the hall according to the tickets website.

Oswald
Guest
Oswald

True. My local supermarket is bigger.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

If Israel can get away with hosting in a venue this small, I guess we know now that Reykjavik won’t have a problem next year if hate does indeed prevail 😉

Loin dici
Guest

It’s still big for an international competition, and counting that this is Israel. Also, the acoustic will be heard better in a smaller venue and it will be a more intimate set, good for this year’s mood : small isn’t always that bad.

Darren
Guest
Darren

I’m glad that a small venue was chosen by KAN and the EBU. (I know they chose Tel Aviv for different reasons of course). But having it in a venue for 7000+ people makes hosting future contests easier for many countries. Some countries don’t have a big arena like the Globen or the Espirit or the Altice. I know Ireland, my country has 1 arena, the 3 Arena in Dublin which has a max capacity for 10,000. Hosting an even like Eurovision would see that capacity drop to about 8,000. So yeah I think EBU should bring the rules down… Read more »

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

I think it looks smaller than it really is because it’s still empty. A bigger arena would have been better, but it will do just fine.
I mean, it is small, definitely compared to the huge arena we had in Lisbon, but it’s not much smaller than the venues we had in 2014 and 2017 and they looked big enough on screen.

Albert
Guest
Albert

I don’t think that this is the main hall.. I think it’s the smaller one for the green room.

Avi
Guest
Avi

It is the main hall.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

..Why do I have a weird feeling that this year’s competition is going to be a $#!tshow in more ways than one?

Loin dici
Guest

No, not only you. We also wonder.

Henry
Guest
Henry

That place looks the size of my school gym lol. Taking into account the seating and the stage, my school gym would probably seat more people.

Joe
Guest
Joe

What a shame it hasn’t been smoother. Israel is a country with a lot of significance to me and my family and I’ve been so excited to see an event I love held there, but it’s so frustrating that so many things keep popping up.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Either we keep having these sorts of practical challenges every year, or alternatively, the ESC can operate out of a single purpose-built venue every year in the future. Simple choice.

Loin dici
Guest

The back and forth of fundings is nuts this year. PM Bibi must be angry after all of this!

I have a soft spot for Ms. Davidovitch. Either she is not managing this in a good way, or all of this is happening out of her control. I can’t imagine the stress she would handle from KAN, EBU or the government after this financial things.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

These funding issues go all the way to the top, meaning PM Bibi. He tried with all his might to get KAN closed even before they started airing (he didn’t succeed because his partners in the coalition objected), and after that he tried to close their news department. All as part of his elaborate plan to stifle free press in Israel. Not giving KAN any funds for ESC was clearly part of an attempt to weaken them, Israel is a wealthy country and a less conniving PM would have given them any necessary amount. I think Ms. Davidovitch can’t be… Read more »

Jooka
Guest

Its a joke? 1 st april?
I already miss 2018…

Wolken
Guest
Wolken

That line (as well as the letterhead in the image) makes me suspicious as to whether the letter actually came from the EBU. I just can’t see that being in a formal letter.

Loin dici
Guest

Looking at the financial drama, EBU must be so irritated that they decided the line ‘irritating’ needs to be there. It’s mostly exhausting to have no assurance about the funding whatsoever, eventhough it’s already April.

Wolken
Guest
Wolken

Maybe, but something just feels off about the letter. It doesn’t look or read like something an adult would write.

Jake
Guest
Jake

This can’t be the space they are holding the event, right? This has to be where they are storing supplies and set pieces

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

Wait, it’s already April and they are just starting to build the stage structure ?
Does not the stand-in rehearsals usually start around the 20th of april ?

Loin dici
Guest

It’s normal, the rehearsals wil provisionally start at beginning of May so they would still have time to build it.

Dani
Guest
Dani

Portugal started on 6.4.18

...
Guest
...

The venue looks so small… or is it just me?

Loin dici
Guest

No, we will have our cutest Eurovision since Malmö!

avi
Guest
avi

It’s the smallest venue since Eurovision 1999 in Jerusalem. Skonto Hall in Riga was bigger.

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

it’s great to be this small 🙂

Nicola S
Guest
Nicola S

In other recent news, Mahmood has just been confirmed for the London Eurovision Party.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Wow, Italy at a pre-party! Who’da thunk?

Nicola S
Guest
Nicola S

IKR. I remember Francesco Gabbani went to a few pre-parties in 2017.

Joe
Guest
Joe

So, I guess this leaves Malta, Cyprus, and Portugal as the only ones sitting them all out?

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Ooff, im jealous xD

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

baby, if you wanna host it then better see that cash flowing