Israel 2019: Conservatives ask EBU to respect Saturday’s holiday

Israel 2019: Conservatives ask EBU to respect Saturday’s holiday

Three days have passed since Netta’s big victory in the 63rd Eurovision Song  Contest, and debates both on the venue of the next event and on the way have already begun. Everything suggests that the contest will be held in Jerusalem, as the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after Netta’s victory wrote on Twitter “Netta, you have brought great glory to the state of Israel! Next year, in Jerusalem! “.

However, the choice of this city is a controversial issue, both because of its warring state and the fact that it is a holy city. It is the center of the orthodox Jewish population and difficult to deviate from the rules. Indeed, the first black clouds of this choice have already begun to appear as Yaakov Litzman, the leader of the super-conservative party and deputy health minister, has called for proper preparations for the next event without any delay. He sent a request to the Ministers of Tourism, Communication, Culture and Sports, asking not to violate the Jewish religious legislation regarding the sanctity of Saturday, which basically means a holiday.

This period is set from the sunset on Friday afternoon to the hour when it begins to sleep on Saturday. Typically, the government had not violated this status quo except in very few cases. Essentially, this request does not affect the holding of the Grand Final on Saturday as it begins at 22.00 in the evening, when the deadline is over. The problem is at the Jury Show on Friday evening and in the rehearsals before the final Saturday afternoon.EBU already knows the issue and will try to settle it by the chairman of Frank-Dieter Freiling during his visit to Israel on Thursday.

Nevertheless, the religious conflict on this issue is not new to the history of the country. After Dana International‘s victory, the same issue had arisen in organizing Eurovision in 1999 in Jerusalem. Of course, Litzman’s reaction was sudden and delayed, but the issue had took a dimension of national crisis. The result of these reactions was the absence of the last rehearsals on Friday night and on Saturday.

But will this be feasible from time to time, once double countries will take part in relation to 1999? And how will the Jury Show be held on Friday if Litzman’s request is accepted? The only sure thing is that Israel will have so many contradictions in the next period.

Fotis Kourouvanis

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