21 November 2019 - 24 Heshvan 5780 - כ"ד חשון ה' אלפים תש"פ
64th Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel-Aviv goes off with little fuss E-mail

Despite protests from groups across the political spectrum who promised disturbance and heavy campaigning, the Eurovision Song Contest stood mostly unaffected.

As the winners of last year’s contest, this year’s finale gave Israel a chance to showcase its credentials as a culturally progressive nation. The Netherlands won the 64th iteration of the Contest, held at the Tel-Aviv Expo from 14 to 18 May, which featured a performance from Madonna, plenty of glitz, and some political controversy as pro-Palestinian activists called for a boycott.

The extravaganza unfolded largely politics-free, though two incidents drew attention away from the songs and toward Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian government.

The Eurovision organisers take great care to note that the event, viewed by millions globally, is intended to be apolitical. However, local media showed images of two of Madonna’s dancers walking hand in hand, side-by-side, revealing Israeli and Palestinian flags displayed across their backs during her performancean apparent call for unity between the two sides. Icelandic punk band Hatari, meanwhile, held scarves with Palestinian flags aloft whilst their results were being announced.

Madonna stole much of the limelight with her two-song performance, including her 1989 hit, Like A Prayer. She had earlier said she was determined to perform at the finals, but her participation brought protests from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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