Eurovision contestants and viewers were split around the decision to include Israel in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU say that comparisons between Russia and Israel are “complex and difficult,”

Israel entry Eurovision 2024

As Eurovision fans tuned in to see Switzerland’s Nemo win the annual song contest with “The Code,” over the weekend, conversation persisted around Israel’s participation in this year’s song contest.

Israeli broadcaster, and European Broadcast Union (EBU) member, KAN, announced 20-year-old Eden Golan as their entry into the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. Controversy soon swelled around not only Israel being allowed to participate, but also over the singer’s song, “Hurricane,”

Many online called for a boycott of this year’s contest after accusations of hypocrisy on the part of the EBU for banning Russia in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine. Belarus was also banned. Videos on social media show the crowd loudly booing Golan during her performance at Eurovision. Protests also took place outside the event in Malmö.

Israel Gaza War was Russia in Eurovision

In a statement to, Eurovision said it understood “the concerns and deeply held views around the world,” over the current Israel-Hamas War that’s led to the death of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. However, the organization emphasizes the contest is “non-political” and that comparing the respective “wars and conflicts” is “complex and difficult” that isn’t for them to decide.

The statement continues by saying “Russian broadcasters themselves were suspended from the EBU due to their persistent breaches of membership obligations and the violation of public service values,” making relations between KAN and the government of Israel “fundamentally different” from the relationship between “those Russian Members and the State, with the Israeli Government in recent years threatening to close down the broadcaster,”

The statement did not say why Belarus hasn’t been allowed to compete.

Eden Golan Hurricane lyrics October Rain

The song controversy began when the EBU requested Golan’s song, originally titled “October Rain” after the lyrics were released online. Initially, KAN rejected such a request, threatening to withdraw entirely from Eurovision. The broadcaster’s president, Isaac Herzog, reversed KAN’s stance by calling for the song to be rewritten.

Eden Golan Hurricane lyrics October Rain

The original lyrics such as “Hours and hours and flowers/Life is no game for the cowards,” and “There’s no air left to breath [sic],” included references to the 7 October Hamas attack, violating Eurovision’s rules around neutrality. Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom claims the reference to flowers is a military slang term for “war fatalities,”

Who is Eden Golan?

The 20-year-old Israeli-born contestant spent most of her life in Russia, participating in televised song contests from an early age. Golan became Israel’s representative at this year’s Eurovision contest after winning a televised talent contest with her rendition of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.”

How is Israel in Eurovision?

As long as countries are members of the EBU, non-European countries such as Israel are allowed to compete in Eurovision. Other non-European countries allowed include Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Australia.

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Published by HOLR Magazine.

Image Credit: @AcrossTheLine11 X @golaneden Instagram

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