September 17, 2019

And the Winner Is Israel!

“Israel was hosting the competition for the fourth time in history but for the first in twenty years – and in an era where Eurovision is simulcast on YouTube and more and more countries have joined the contest, in an age of instant responses and scrutiny via social media with a global viewing audience that has swelled to 200 million people.

Eurovision is always loud, often garish and I admit to watching some of the songs with the “Mute” button pressed – but to be the host is a big deal and for Israel more than most. It also requires a lot – and Israel more than delivered. When Netta Barzilai triumphantly lifted the trophy last year, questions and concerns loomed: Which city would host? Would the contest be derailed – or even cancelled – by BDS, the anti-Israel boycotters? Could Israel do it and not go bankrupt in the process, or would the whole thing be a disaster?

Israel can feel vindicated on every level.

Tel Aviv was the natural home for camp, party-loving Eurovision with no disrespect to any other city including the capital. Jerusalemites also hosted Eurovision celebrations and the tourism influx was a boon to Jerusalem as it was to Tel Aviv and elsewhere with thousands of visitors converging on the Jewish State. In 2018, tourism was at an all-time high with 4.1 million people coming to Israel, up 14% on the previous year; with the Eurovision boost, 2019 could surpass even that.”

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