Thank You for the Music: Was This Israel’s Final Eurovision?

Published May 14th, 2017 - 03:24 GMT
Israel win a place in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)
Israel win a place in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)

As he has been doing since 2009, the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Ofer Nachshon presented Israel's awarding of points in the contest live - with top marks to Portugal and Sweden. But Nachshon also used the opportunity to publicly mourn the IBA's closure on Sunday to hundreds of millions of viewers around Europe. 

"For the past 44 years Israel has participated in the Eurovision song contest, winning three times," he told the Ukrainian hosts. "But tonight is our final night, shortly IBA will shut down its broadcasting forever. So on behalf of all of us here in IBA, let me say thank you Europe for all the magical moments and the beautiful music.... and hopefully we shall meet again in the future."

Many on social media were stunned by the news that Israel will seemingly be leaving the Eurovision contest. And while it is true that IBA, a member of the European Broadcasting Union, is shutting down on Sunday, the fate of Israel's Eurovision participation is more complicated. It remains to be seen if Kann, the IBA's replacement, will be accepted into the EBU; the division between its news and other broadcasting departments demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may leave it ineligible. 

The EBU told The Jerusalem Post last week that it "has some reservations" about the new public broadcaster and is "following closely" the developments. It added that the body will only consider Kann's application for membership once the network "becomes operational."

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