Israeli Singer Eden Golan Advances to Grand Final of Eurovision

Amid backlash on Israel’s participation in Europe’s biggest music competition, the 20 year-old singer has garnered enough votes to qualify for the final round with her song “Hurricane.” If she wins on Saturday, May 11, she’d become Israel’s fifth Eurovision champion.
May 10, 2024
Screenshot from music video

Israeli singer Eden Golan qualified for the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest grand finale Thursday with her ballad “Hurricane.”

She will compete in the 68th annual Eurovision Grand Finale on Saturday, May 11 at 12:00 pm Pacific Time at Malmö arena in Malmö, Sweden — the country’s third largest city after Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Golan rejoiced on Instagram with a statement in English and Hebrew:


“I’m still trying to figure out the right words, but from the bottom of my heart thank you thank you thank you. thank you for voting for hurricane and for believing in us. I’m going to continue to show up and perform and remind everyone that we are here to stay! see you on Saturday



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by EDEN GOLAN (@golaneden)

Golan’s accomplishment comes after much scrutiny of both the content of the song and worldwide backlash against Israel’s presence in the competition amid the war with Hamas.

The Times of Israel reported that before the semi-final round this week, “a major anti-Israel rally was held in the city center, with an estimated 12,000 attendees.” The paper also reported that “at least nine people were arrested at the protest, and police used pepper spray to disperse crowds”

BBC reported that despite the massive anti-Israel protests in Malmö, a comparatively small group pro-Israel demonstrators gathered with Israeli flags and sang Golan’s song while surrounded by local police.

Golan was booed at a semi-final rehearsal this week.

The Jerusalem Post reported that 21-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg joined pro-Palestinian protesters this week demonstrating in Malmö.

“Young people are leading the way and showing the world how we should react to this,” Thunberg told reporters while wrapped in a keffiyeh. Thunberg retweeted video of the demonstrations to her more than 5 million Twitter followers.

In March, Israel had to revise the lyrics to the song submission due to objections from Eurovision organizers. “Hurricane” was originally titled, “October Rain.” The original version of the song also had the lyrics “there’s no air left to breathe” and “they were all good children, each one of them.” There was speculation that these were references to the Hamas terror attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023. Nearly 1,200 were murdered and 252 taken hostage that day.

Golan is a major star in Israel, with over 200,000 followers on Instagram and over 578,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. The song “Hurricane” has racked up nearly 6 million views on YouTube in just one month.

The 20 year-old singer was born in Kfar Saba, Israel in 2003 to a Latvian-Jewish father and a Ukrainian-Jewish mother. Both of her parents were born in Soviet Russia before moving to Israel. The family moved to Russia when she was six, but returned to Israel in 2022.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Eden, I want to wish you success, but you have already succeeded. You not only face Eurovision in a proud and impressive way, but you successfully face a wave of antisemitism while standing and representing the State of Israel with respect.”

“Eden, I want to wish you success, but you have already succeeded. You not only face Eurovision in a proud and impressive way, but you successfully face a wave of antisemitism while standing and representing the State of Israel with respect.”- Benjamin Netanyahu

The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles Israel Bachar spoke with the Journal about the situation unfolding at Eurovision. 

“I think Eurovision became a political quagmire instead of an artistic competition, and it’s a shame,” Bachar told the Journal. “And mostly, the shame goes to the protestors who do not protest against the Iranian regime. This past week, [Iran] announced that they were going to execute a musician, a rapper [Toomaj Salehi], so they need to protest against that regime, not against a beautiful, young artistic soul who’s coming for an art competition. It’s quintessential hypocrisy. The last year teaches us that a new ‘fighting Jew’ is emerging, and the October 8th Jews understand that the battlefield is everywhere: it’s in the music industry, it’s on the campuses, it’s in Israel, and it’s in Sweden. We have to fight.” 

The Consulate General’s office also shared an image on their Instagram account touting a welcome message to Golan from the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association:

“EDEN GOLAN WARM WELCOME TO SWEDEN, GOOD LUCK IN EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. Eden Golan performs Israel’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, If you like the sound, don’t forget to vote!”

[translated from Swedish to English via Google Translate]

Creative Community for Peace, a Los Angeles-based non-profit entertainment industry organization that promotes “the arts as a bridge to peace” weighed in on the news about Golan.

“Despite the best efforts of the anti-Israel movement to silence Eden and Israel, music fans from around the world spoke clearly and loudly,” CCFP said in a statement to the Journal. “Eden reaching the finals is a testament to her incredible talent and music’s ability to unite people everywhere.”

When Israel hosted Eurovision in 2019, there were many calls for contestants to boycott the event. CCFP successfully encouraged many contestants not to boycott.

While not particularly well-known in the U.S., Eurovision is a massive pop culture event across Europe. It can be described as “The Voice” meets the Olympics — thousands of singers competing under their country’s flag to be declared champion.

Last year, Eurovision had more than 162 million viewers, roughly 20% of Europe’s entire population.

Past winners who got their big break at Eurovision include ABBA (1974) and Céline Dion (1988).

Though not located in continental Europe, Israel has participated in Eurovision since 1973. Australia is another non-European participant. Traditionally, the winner of the previous year’s country gets to host the following year. The 2023 winner was Swedish singer Loreen for the song “Tattoo.” Israel placed third last year, with Noa Kirel’s song “Unicorn.”

Israel’s performer has won the Eurovision competition four times:

1978: Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”

1979: Milk and Honey, “Hallelujah”

1998: Dana International, “Diva”

2018: Netta, “Toy”

 To vote, visit https://eurovision.tv/vote

Viewers in the U.S. can watch the finals on NBC’s Peacock network.

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