May 21, 2024

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Eurovision 2024: Israeli contestant Eden Golan gets booed and booed by security

Eurovision 2024: Israeli contestant Eden Golan gets booed and booed by security

MALMO, Sweden (AP) — Eden Gollan is in Sweden for Eurovision Song Contestbut she doesn't see much of the country.

The 20-year-old Israeli singer is surrounded by security as she travels between her hotel and the competition venue in Malmö. According to Israel Public Radio, she practiced singing while being booed in preparation for her performance in the continental song contest.

The Golan has become a hotbed of protests before Pro-Palestinian demonstrators Who want to expel Israel from them Eurovision Regarding the war with Hamas that claimed the lives of nearly 35,000 people in Gaza. The war began with a surprise attack by Hamas on southern Israel in October, in which the armed group killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took 250 others hostage.

A crowd estimated by police to number more than 10,000 people marched through the city in southern Sweden on Thursday, chanting “Free Palestine” and “Israel is a terrorist state.” Banners accused Eurovision of complicity in genocide and called for a boycott of the contest.

Another protest march is scheduled for Saturday, hours before the Golan competes in the live Eurovision final against bids from 25 other countries.

One of those 25, Dutchman Joost Klein, failed to perform at a dress rehearsal on Friday where he was scheduled to appear live in front of Israel. The regulator, the European Broadcasting Union, did not provide any explanation but said it was “currently investigating an incident reported to us involving the Dutch artist.” He will not train until further notice.” It was not clear whether his absence was related to Israel’s participation.

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Israel is allowed to compete in Eurovision, although not in Europe, because its national broadcaster belongs to the European Broadcasting Union, whose membership extends beyond the continent.

Golan has remained largely out of sight in Malmo, except for training and performances at the Malmo Arena. While other artists took to the stage for audiences in the city's Eurovision Park, Golan did not.

They were one of 10 teams who made it through Thursday's semi-finals, which were decided by votes from Eurovision viewers around the world. Golan was greeted with boos and applause from spectators in the arena. Bookmakers say she is likely to finish in the top half of the final competition, which is decided by a combination of audience votes and national music industry juries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Golan for his performance despite “facing an ugly wave of anti-Semitism.”

He said: “So be blessed, and know that when they mock you, we encourage you.”

Golan's song is a powerful ballad called “Hurricane” – but that was not its original name. The song was initially called “October Rain”, an apparent reference to the October 7 Hamas attack. This violated the contest's rules, which prohibit “political” content.

The retitled song contains less specific lyrics about going through a hard time, and asserts that “love will never die.”

Born in Israel to parents from the former Soviet Union, Golan spent most of her childhood in Russia and performed on televised talent shows there before returning to Israel. She cites Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake among her inspirations.

She avoided direct political statements, but said it was “a great honor to represent my country, especially in these times.”

Speaking after the semi-final match, Golan said she was “overwhelmed with emotion.”

“I'm so excited to get on stage again and share a little of my love with everyone,” she said.

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Yessica Fish contributed to this story from Jerusalem.