The European Broadcasting Union has chosen Tel Aviv as the host city for Eurovision 2019, it was announced this week.
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu had originally hoped that Jerusalem would be the host city, however, following the EBU’s decision he congratulated Tel Aviv.
“We are blessed with a Eurovision in Israel,” Netanyahu said in a PMO statement. “It will be in Tel Aviv and it shall be an excellent Eurovision.”
“Tel Aviv is an international city, a vibrant city, and the entire world will see that,” said Netanyahu.
The video above shows Netanyahu appearing slightly disappointed that it is not in Jerusalem, but is still proud his country is hosting the world’s largest entertainment event.
Not everyone shared his opinion. Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, who is running for mayor of Jerusalem, said in a statement that he was “sorry” to hear about the decision made by the Israel Public Broadcaster Kan and the EBU to hold the contest in Tel Aviv.
Holding the 2019 competition in Tel Aviv represents “a missed opportunity to strengthen the status of Jerusalem in the world and contribute to the development of the city,” Elkin said.
The EBU said in their announcement:
Tel Aviv presented a very creative and compelling bid across all required areas. It was chosen following a strong city bid process which also saw Jerusalem and Eilat compete to host the world’s most hotly anticipated musical event, which reaches around 200 million viewers worldwide.
Israel’s second largest city is widely known as Israel’s self-defined non-stop city, located on the Mediterranean coast with a population of over 400,000 people. Tel Aviv will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time and the event will be held at the EXPO Tel Aviv (International Convention Center).
Frank-Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group said: “We look forward to working with KAN to bring the Contest to Tel Aviv for the first time. We are expecting to receive guarantees from the Prime Minister this week in regards to the security and freedom of movement of anyone coming to the event. These guarantees are imperative in order for us to move forward with the planning of the event to ensure the safety of visitors and upholding the Eurovision Song Contest values of diversity and inclusivity.”
In addition, the dates for the 2019 contest have also been revealed. The Semi-Finals will take place in Tel Aviv on the 14th and 16th of May and the Grand Final will take place on 18th May.