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Israel's performance in the semi-final this evening

Israel among ten acts to qualify for Eurovision Grand Final from tonight's semi-final show

Singer Eden Golan was met with some booing from sections of the arena when she performed.


ISRAEL HAS RECEIVED enough votes to move ahead to the Eurovision Grand Final on in Malmö on Saturday night.

It comes despite calls from pro-Palestine campaigners for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to expel the country from the competition due to the bombardment of Gaza. 

Eden Golan, the country’s 20-year-old singer, was met with booing from some sections of the arena as she performed her song, Hurricane, towards the end of tonight’s show. There was also loud cheering for the performance from elsewhere among the audience. 

Also qualifying were: Latvia, Austria, Norway, Greece, Estonia, Georgia, and Armenia.

The Swiss act, Nemo, who is the second favourite to win on Saturday, also qualified and received one of the biggest cheers of the night after performing the finale of their song from a rapidly spinning platform. 

Dutch rapper Joost Klein, another of the acts who has been a hit with the fans in the Swedish port city this week, will also compete on Saturday alongside Ireland’s Bambie Thug and the other qualifiers from Tuesday.

The ‘Big Five’ nations who contribute most of the funds for the Eurovision – the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany – were already pre-qualified for the final, as were host nation Sweden. 

The longrunning competition, and especially tonight’s semi-final, has been mired in controversy over Israel’s participation.

The booing, audible from within parts of the crowd, began as the set was changed and Israel’s performers took to the stage. Groups of Israeli fans and others could be heard cheering loudly throughout the song. 

A small number of people exited the venue as Israel’s performance began tonight,  amongst them former Irish Eurovision act Jedward, who had been sitting in prominent seats at the rear of the venue. 

I feel like it should be an equal playing field and if Russia is not allowed to participate then Israel shouldn’t be allowed to either,” one of the twins said afterwards. Russia were expelled from the competition within days of the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 

Long-time Eurovision fans from Ireland at a pro-Gaza protest in Malmö this afternoon told The Journal they are extremely disappointed at the EBU’s decision to allow Israel to take part.

The EBU and the national broadcasters who are members of the organisation have consistently argued that the contest is non-political in nature and that to expel the country would constitute a political act. 

“We’re a public service broadcaster – we don’t take political stands on issues when it comes to things like this. The BBC don’t. French television don’t … no public service broadcaster in Europe would,” Michael Kealy, the senior RTÉ producer who serves as Irish Head of Delegation, said earlier today. 

“If we withdraw from it that’s the end of the Olympics, that’s the end of the Euros, that’s the end of the World Cup – all the fun in our lives would be taken away.”

Thousands of protesters, carrying pro-Gaza banners and signs critical of the Eurovision, earlier marched through the city, which has a sizeable Palestinian population.

There was also a smaller protest at the train station outside Malmö Arena just before tonight’s show. Several dozen protesters who had taken the train to the arena were met with a line of police officers and barred from going further. 

A man who said he was not part of the planned protest but wished to speak on behalf of them told The Journal afterwards that they were demonstrating “because they want to show their solidarity for Palestine during the genocide Israel is committing in Gaza”.

He said Malmö is a city that supports the Pro-Palestine protests and also “protects Jews and protects Muslims and protects all minorities”.

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Daragh Brophy (in Malmö) and Lauren Boland