Ynet reports that the European Broadcasting Union has warned Israeli officials of the possibility of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 being removed from Israel.
Israeli media outlet Ynet reports that at meetings between the European Broadcasting Union and the Israeli national broadcaster, Israeli officials were warned of the risk of the contest being taken away from the country. An unnamed source stated that during the first meeting between IPBC and the EBU that;
(The EBU) brought up Ukraine as an example, where the song contest was almost cancelled there because of similar concerns, and we should be really careful. The IPBC promised there would be no governmental intervention
According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the EBU requested that at least two cities be proposed during a bidding process for next years contest. The source added that the European Broadcasting Union stated that only “non-divisive” locations be included in the bidding process.
The European Broadcasting Union representatives reportedly added;
Our goal is to avoid countries boycotting the location of the event
In addition the EBU is stated to have requested that NIS 50 million (11.84 million Euro) be transferred to an EBU bank account. The money will be held by the European Broadcasting Union until the 2019 contest has been held, and will not be returned to Israel in the event that they are unable to host next years contest. A similar request was made to to Ukraine when they hosted the contest in 2017 and faced issues with political interference and challenging preparations.
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. To date the following cities have expressed an interest in hosting next years contest;
Channel 20 reported that at the end of last week the Israeli Prime Minister and other Government Ministers stated that they will not interfere with the selection of next years host city. The Minister for Culture and Sport caused controversy last week when she stated that if the contest was not held in Jerusalem then Israel should not host the competition at all.