Ynet.com is reporting that recent talks between KAN, the Israeli national broadcaster, and the Israeli government, regarding the budget for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 have been ‘positive’.
KAN were previously granted an extension for paying a €12 million hosting deposit to the EBU. They were given until August 14 to pay this amount.
In the recent meeting between the two parties, an estimated budget of NIS 150 million (approx. €35 million) was reportedly discussed. The actual bill for the taxpayer will be around NIS 100 million (€23.5 million). The remaining third of the budget, NIS 50 million (€11.5 million), will come from ticket sales and promotions.
Despite positive talks, there is still no agreement has to who should pay for this budget. KAN says that without the government’s assistance, it will not be able to transfer the funds by the deadline unless 200 employees are let go or other budget cuts are made. The government refuses to pay the funds, although it has agreed to provide a guarantee to KAN in case it defaults on the payment. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also stated his willingness for Israel to host the competition.
Discussions are also underway with regards to the selection of the Israeli representative and the hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest. HaKokhav HaBa will most likely to be used as the Israeli national selection once again. The official confirmation of this has been delayed by technical issues between KAN and Keshet, the producer of HaKokhav HaBa. These issues are expected to be sorted out in the next few days.
The leading candidate to host Eurovision 2019 is Erez Tal. He provided commentary for Israeli viewers during this year’s contest, the first to do so since 1995, and received positive feedback for his work. He is KAN’s preferred host. However, he would need approval from Avi Nir, the CEO of Keshet. Another rumoured name, according to Israel Hayom, is Assi Azar, who is one of the current hosts of HaKokhav HaBa and who previously worked with Erez Tal on the Israeli version of Big Brother.
There are currently 3 cities in Israel in contention for being the host city of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Currently the most likely city is Tel Aviv, with Eilat and 1979 and 1999 host city Jerusalem also in the running.
Israel won the right to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 following Netta’s win in 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal with her song “Toy”. The song won with 529 points in total.