Following the uncertainty surrounding whether Jerusalem could host Eurovision 2019, the northern city of Haifa has stated it will now bid to host next years contest.
Yona Yahav the Mayor of Haifa has confirmed that the city is now putting together a bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. The Mayor stated that they have submitted a letter of intent to bid to host the contest to the Ministry of Culture and Sport adding;
Haifa has all the means and it meets all the conditions for hosting the competition. It is a peaceful city and a symbol of coexistence, and it is very worthy of hosting the competition on every index
Haifa’s bid would see the Sammy Ofer Stadium host the competition. The stadium which is currently open air would have a roof constructed for the competition, which would be financed by the local Municipality. The Sammy Ofer Stadium has a capacity for over 30,000 people in is current setup as a football stadium. Regarding hotel rooms the city stated that if it is necessary, they will construct additional hotels to enable the city to host.
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel with a metropolitan population of just over 1 million people. There has been a settlement in the same location as Haifa for over 3,000 years. The city is served by a small international airport with flights to Greece and Cyprus, it is connected to Tel Aviv International Airport by a direct train.
Earlier this week the Minister for Culture and Sport, Miri Regev stated that either Jerusalem is selected as next years host city for the Eurovision Song Contest, or Israel should not host the competition at all.
With all due respect to the (European Broadcasting) Union, Israel has the right to decide where to host Eurovision…it is a beautiful show and there are no issues with the substance, but the point is also that the state shows itself on the occasion.
The final decision will be taken by the prime minister, but if they ask me, I’ll say the right thing to do is either host it in Jerusalem or spend the 50 million shekels necessary in some other way,
This isn’t the first time that the Culture and Sports Minister has voice her opinions on how next years competition should held. Both Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev declared that Jerusalem would host the contest in 2019, the EBU has called their statements premature, telling fans to hold off on booking flights until a final announcement is made.
However, Israel’s plan to host Eurovision has courted some controversy, from IPBC’s status as an EBU broadcaster and concerns over boycotts. Problems have also arisen even within Israel, such as religious authorities’ concerns over the Shabbat.
Source: Time Out