Israel heads to Eurovision final, despite protests

Israel heads to Eurovision final, despite protests
Israel heads to Eurovision final, despite protests

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Israel heads to Eurovision final, despite protests in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MALMO, Sweden — Israeli singer Eden Golan has qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest after a public vote.

Her victory came hours after thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors gathered in the streets of Malmö, Sweden, where the contest is being held, to show their support for Gaza.

A night before, the 20-year-old singer had been booed during dress rehearsals. There was a mixture of cheering and booing again during Thursday's semi-final.

Speaking after the show, she said she was "overwhelmed with emotions".

"It is truly such an honor to be here on stage, representing [Israel] with pride," she said.

"I’m so grateful for everyone who voted and took part in supporting us, and me."

Israel's participation in Eurovision has been a source of controversy amid rising civilian deaths and a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, as the war between Israel and Hamas enters its seventh month.

Smoke canisters in the colors of the Palestinian flag were set off in Malmö’s central square on Thursday afternoon, along with chants of "Free Palestine".

A smaller demonstration in support of Israel also took place.

Although the protests were largely peaceful, there are armed police outside the hotel where Golan is staying, and she has been confined to her room when she is not on stage.

After receiving a hostile reception at dress rehearsals, the singer said "nothing will deter" her from taking part in the contest.

And ahead of the semi-final, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent Golan a message of support via social media.

"Eden, I want to wish you success," he said in Hebrew.

"You know what? You've already succeeded - because you are not only competing in Eurovision in a proud and very impressive way, you are successfully facing an ugly wave of antisemitism - and you are standing up to it and representing the State of Israel with great honour.

"So what a blessing, and know that when people yell 'boo' at you, we shout 'hooray'".

According to bookmakers, Golan's song is fifth favorite to win the contest on Saturday night.

Topping the odds is Croatian act Baby Lasagna, whose riotous dance anthem Rim Tim Tagi Dim qualified from the first semi-final on Tuesday.

Switzerland's Nemo, whose operatic pop song The Code is the second favourite, was one of the 10 acts who were voted through after Thursday's show.

The singer put on one of the night's most impressively athletic performances, dancing on a rotating turntable while they sang about coming to terms with their non-binary identity

Other artists who qualified included Austria's Kaleen, with her techno anthem We Will Rave, and Armenia's Ladaniva, whose sassy and exuberant song, Jako, brought a Balkan folk flavor to the contest.

Greek singer Marina Zatti also made it through, despite suffering pharyngitis and a fever in the run-up to her performance.

Meanwhile, Latvia and Georgia broke an eight-year losing streak - sending their contestants to the final for the first time since 2016.

The second semi-final also saw performances from former Eurovision winners Helena Paparizou, Charlotte Perelli and Sertab Erener - who led the crowd in a singalong medley of their winning entries during the interval.

Host Petra Mede also sang a tongue-in-cheek number that boasted about Sweden's seven Eurovision victories. The sequence also featured a reprise performance from last year's runner-up, Käärijä, in all his tongue-waggling glory.

And the show finished with Swedish pop trio Herrey's, celebrating the 40th anniversary of their nonsensical classic Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley - which won the contest in 1984.

Saturday's final will take place from 20:00 BST, with the UK represented by former Years & Years star Olly Alexander. — BBC

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