Eurovision 2019 in Israel, but who should pay for it?

Arguments in Israel about who should transfer a 12 million Euro guarantee to EBU, has now reached a level where Israeli politicians are getting involved. Monday, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlo, urged the broadcaster to pay immediately.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) initially had asked for the 12 million Euro guarantee to be paid by the end of July 2018. This deadline was then later extended to the 14th of August, but with one day to go, the coming host country is still arguing who should pay.

IPBC (KAN in Hebrew) as broadcaster says that they are unable to pay and asks for the government to pay. From a statement today, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlo however says that the broadcaster should pay – and that they are making a mistake if they don’t.

The corporation has made a grave mistake. It has to manage its affairs like any other government body. Its attempts to tie the situation to politics are erroneous. They are able to transfer the sum in a minute. If they do not transfer the guarantee, they will make a grave mistake, which will be contrary to the rules and regulations.

Moshe Kahlo, Minister of Finance, Israel to Ynret

Moshe Kahlo’s words about that the broadcaster can pay stands in contrast to those from IPBC themselves in response to Kahlo. They make it clear that the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Israel IF the government pays for it, as they are unable to do so themselves.

We have been saying all along that the IPBC is unable to foot the bill of the production cost. If the government decides to finance it, the Eurovision will be held in Israel. The IPBC once again urges the decision makers to sit down and reach an agreement over budget with the treasury.

IPBC (KAN), Israeli broadcaster

Where this will end, we don’t know. The deadline is tomorrow, unless it will be extended once again. If extended, it will probably just be for a few days as naturally EBU needs to know the money is coming. If Israel is unable to put up this guarantee, the country can lose the right to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. This is however still an unlikely scenario despite the arguments in Israel. Hosting an event like Eurovision gives a big boost in publicity, and it’s hard to imagine a country like Israel turning that down now.

Israel’s Eurovision host history

The country won the Eurovision Song Contest four times, but only hosted twice with 2019 being able to be the third time. In 1978 won for the first time, and the ’79 contest was held in Jerusalem. On homefield, Gali Atari & Milk and Honey brought the country their second win with the song Hallelujah. Israel turned down hosting the contest twice in a row, and the Netherlands took over.

In 1998, Dana International secured Israel their third victory. The 1999 contest was also held in Jerusalem.

As Netta and her Toy won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Israel has the oppertunity to host the 2019 edition. Three cities are interested in hosting; Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat.

In the video below you can see a clip from one of Netta’s rehearsals at this year’s contest:

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