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Eden Golan from Israel rehearsing the song Hurricane Alamy
Eden Golan

Israeli broadcaster says 'they will not silence us' as singer booed during dress rehearsal

There is a strong police presence in Malmö as authorities prepare for a large protest today.


ISRAEL’S EUROVISION ACT was booed during a dress rehearsal, as tensions around the country’s involvement in the competition persist.

Eden Golan has been accompanied by a large security presence at the contest in Malmö, Sweden, only attending essential events like rehearsals and live performances. 

Footage from last night shows Golan performing her song Hurricane towards the end of the bill, surrounded by a group of dancers, then being met with a mixed response from the crowd.

It follows campaigns across Europe calling on the European Broadcasting Union to exclude the country from the competition due to the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.  

Golan was preparing for the second semi-final tonight, where she’ll compete for a spot in Saturday’s grand final.

One fan who was at the arena last night told The Journal this morning that Golan had been met with both booing and cheering from the crowd.

A small but noticeable number of people left their seats and exited the arena before the Israeli act came on, he added. They then returned in time for the last few performers of the night.

“It was definitely related to Israel – but you wouldn’t necessarily notice it unless you knew they were about to come on.”

Another fan who was at the venue said that one man, high up in the stands, had been shouting ‘Free Palestine’ throughout the Israeli performance.

In a statement to Israeli media, Golan said: “I am proud to represent my country, particularly this year.

“I am receiving support and love and I am determined to give my best performance tomorrow in the semi-final and nothing will deter me from that goal!”

The Kan public broadcaster, the official Israeli body coordinating with the Eurovision contest, said Golan gave an “incredible performance” that wasn’t silenced by critics.

They did not silence her and they will not silence us. See you tomorrow.

There has been a sizeable police presence around Malmö Arena all week.

Police reinforcements have been called in from neighbouring Denmark and Norway. Jail cells in the city have been emptied and prisoners transferred in case of a surge in arrests.

A large-scale protest is planned in Malmö this afternoon, in a different area to where the contest is taking place. It is organised by the umbrella group Stop Israel.

A circling police helicopter serves as a constant reminder of the precautions being taken. A no-fly zone has been established over the port city for the duration of the contest to allow for the flying of police drones to monitor the streets. 

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Mairead Maguire and Daragh Brophy (in Malmo)